Chhattisgarh is the first electricity “cuts-free” state in the entire country. Under Chief Minister Raman Singh, Chhattisgarh has made massive improvements in the energy sector, becoming the “country’s power hub” and a power-surplus state in the process.
The production of electricity has increased to 21,000 megawatts from the earlier 4,000 megawatts during the past 12 years. The quality of power supply had also improved a lot. The supply capacity had increased from 1,660 mba in 2003-2004 to 6,190 mba in 2015-2016. There has been a rapid expansion of the electricity distribution system, keeping in mind the “Power For All” philosophy. There are 44 lakh consumers in various categories.
Electricity connections are provided “online” all seven days in rural areas and for three days in urban centres. Under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, work is being carried on a war-footing to electrify all the habitats on a budget of Rs 1247.75 crore. Plans are on the anvil to improve electricity supply in 182 urban centers under the IPDS Scheme at an investment of Rs 489.06 crore. There has been a rapid expansion in customer services — call centers, e-Sampark Seva, e-Mail Seva, registration-based on missed call, electricity bills and payment based on missed call, and online customer service.
Korba town is fast becoming India’s energy capital. In the next three years, electricity production centres generating 10,000 MW of power will be set up here, making Korba the largest electricity production centre in the country.
Along with electricity production, to ensure uninterrupted and high-quality power transmission and distribution, the state will invest Rs 17,000 crore in the next three years. While making the state a power hub, special efforts have been made to provide its benefits to the common man, especially the poor. These efforts include the increase in irrigation pumps from an earlier count of 72,000 to 2,67,000. Farmers owning five HP pumps are being provided with up to 6,000 units of power annually. Free electricity is being provided to more than 13 lakh families with a single light point.
Promoting use of solar energy
Across the state, 97% of the villages are provided with low-cost and round-the -clock electricity. The state government is committed to ensuring 100% electrification of rural areas in two years. Most of the villages are in far-flung and inaccessible regions.
Solar energy-based power is supplied to 476 villages of 317 habitats. The villages are supplied with drinking water and irrigation based on solar energy. In all, 3,162 solar pumps have been installed in Chhattisgarh alone, out of 5,000 solar pumps installed in the entire country. Most of the solar pumps are installed in remote villages in Bastar where there are technical difficulties in providing traditional electricity.
Apart from this, 1,538 solar pumps have been installed for irrigation facility of farmers. Steps are being taken to provide solar energy to schools and Anganwadis. Colleges, hostels, police stations, Collectorates, Zilla Panchayat offices, rest houses, banks, street lights are also provided with solar energy-based electricity. There are plans afoot to install 1,700 megawatt solar energy equipment in Chhattisgarh. Farmers are encouraged to go for solar energy and there has been a lot of progress in this sector.
In order to promote the use of solar energy and solar products, the Chhattisgarh government has planned to set up 270 shops across the state to sell products such as solar home lights, solar street lights, solar TVs, fans, panels, LED bulbs solar desk light, solar study lamps and lanterns.
According to state government officials, 10 shops will be set up in every district of the state under the “Sour Mitra Akshay Urja Yojana” by the Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA). These shops will provide products certified by CREDA with guarantee of five years to the customers.
As many as 140 remote villages and hamlets in Naxal-affected areas of Chhattisgarh, which have no electricity supply, will soon be illuminated with solar power. The villages, mostly located in the dense forests of Bastar division and some in Sarguja division, will soon have solar power through a project being executed by CREDA under the Remote Village Electrification Programme.
Almost all villages under the Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary have now been electrified by CREDA under the remote village electrification programme. The agency has also involved local villagers to facilitate proper functioning and maintenance of solar set-ups installed in their respective areas.