Alternate energy can light up villages

New Delhi, Apr 29 | Updated: Apr 30 2007, 05:30am hrs
Village electrification is vital for boosting the prospects of rural economy. The process of rural electrification through conventional grid connectivity has been slow despite several schemes of the government.

The 2001 census had identified 5,19,570 villages which do not get power, but can be connected with the conventional power grid.

About 56.48% households do not have access to power supply. The government had also identified about 18,000 villages in remote areas which are not possible for grid connectivity. These villages were, therefore, selected to be electrified by generation of power from new and renewable sources of energy.

According to the latest data available with the ministry of new and renewable energy, only 2,501 out of identified 18,000 remote villages have been electrified to date. Only 830 remote hamlets have been electrified under the programme. The ministrys annual report, however, claiming success of remote village electrification has said that 1,177 villages and 2 hamlets in West Bengal, 395 villages and 34 hamlets in Uttarakhand, 325 villages in Chhattisgarh, 134 villages in Manipur, 118 villages in Jammu and Kashmir, 112 villages in Arunachal Pradesh, 58 villages and 178 hamlets in Tripura, 53 villages in Jharkhand, 39 villages in Assam, 30 villages in Madhya Pradesh, 20 villages in Mizoram, 18 villages in Orissa, 2 villages in Gujarat 558 remote village colonies in Kerala have been electrified by generation of power through new and renewable sources of energy.

The government has also claimed that in 2006-07 alone 264 remote villages and 236 hamlets in nine states were electrified through new and renewable sources of energy.

Projects are under implementation in 1,247 villages and 487 remote hamlets.

The ministry of power has claimed that since the launch of Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) in April 2005 till February 2007, 30,562 unelectrified villages in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Bihar and West Bengal have been electrified under the scheme. Besides intensive electrification of 7,175 already electrified villages has also been achieved, for catering to the needs of families living below the poverty line.

Keeping in view the electrification needs of about 5,19,570 villages and 56.48% of the households, several experts are of the view that generation of power through new and renewable sources of energy, distributed and managed on community basis (taking off grid transmission course) can be a better alternative for faster rural electrification.

The ministry for new and renewable energy sources has estimated a potential for 84,776 mwe grid-interactive power generation from non-conventional sources, like agro residues, wind power, small hydro projects, cogeneration from bagasse and from industrial wastes.