The Maoist menace is coming as a stumbling block in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream to electrify all villages of India by 1 May 2018 and make power available on a 24×7 basis.

The Power Ministry, headed by Piyush Goyal, is working on a mission to implement Prime Minister Modi’s announcement. The Prime Minister had during the Independence Day speech last year, promised to electrify all villages within 1,000 days.

There were 18,452 un-electrified villages till April 2015. However, the Power Ministry brought forward the implementation schedule from 1 May 2018 to 1 May 2017. The ministry has been successful in electrifying 9,529 villages as on 5 August under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY).

Among the remaining un-electrified villages (8,398), work is under progress in 1,126 villages, whereas 363 villages are under “energisation”. Goyal expressed confidence that all the remaining villages would be covered by 1 May 2017.

However, according to ministry officials, there are an additional 6,932 villages which come under the Maoist-affected areas in states like Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand, West Bengal, etc. There has not been much progress in these villages and, as a result, 3,676 villages are yet to be electrified.

“We are facing difficulties, but still we are trying our best to realise the Prime Minister’s dream. We are reviewing the progress of electrification with the states on a monthly basis,” said an official. The Prime Minister had announced complete electrification of India by May 2018. He had said that by December 2018, all Indian citizens would have access to electricity. He had also said that by March 2019, power would be available 24×7 to all.

During a state power ministers’ conference in June, all the states, except those affected by Maoist activities, resolved to electrify all the remaining un-electrified villages by 31 December 2016 itself. This was being done to ensure that power is available in all households of 18,452 villages by 1 May 2017. In the meeting, the states also said that they would soon award contracts for the purpose.

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