Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee had recently held a meeting with the power minister Sovandeb Chatterjee and other senior officials of his department where Banerjee asked the latter to complete the project as soon as possible and provide electricity to entire Sunderbans area through power grid, the work for which has been going on.
Except 14 villages of Sunderbans in South 24-Parganas and one village in Purulia, all the rural areas have already got electricity. It may be mentioned that Centre had also applauded the state government for performing exceedingly well in the rural electrification work in comparison to other states.
After coming to power in 2011, the Chief Minister had taken a pledge to electrify each and every village across the state. According to the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (WBSEDCL), State’s nodal distribution agency, the total number of subscribers has gone up to more than 1.63 crore from what it was around 88 lakh in 2011.
A few years ago the pace of electrification work in West Bengal was quite slow in comparison with the other states in the country but after Mamata Banerjee became the Chief Minister, the power distribution system in the state has seen a major revamp in infrastructure development, as a result of which common people have been immensely benefitted.
There was a significant increase in the number of consumers as the state power department has taken a drive to complete the rural electrification work by March next year.
However, the state power department has been facing hurdles in some parts as many villagers were reluctant to get an electricity connection due to financial constraints. The state government is trying to resolve the issues with the involvement of local panchayat functionaries and the zilla parishads.
Earlier, the department had faced challenges after many villagers had objected to setting up of electric poles on their land but through continuous dialogue the issue has been resolved.
Power Minister Sobhandeb Chatterjee in next couple of days will visit various parts of Nadia and South 24-Parganas to take a stock of the ongoing rural electrification project. He said that as it was announced in 2016 Budget; more than 1.63 crore consumers have already been covered under this scheme. According to the minister, as the electric poles were being set up in various rivers passing through the Sunderbans area, it was taking some more time.
“In some areas we were facing a problem as some villagers were expressing their reluctance to get an electricity connection due to financial reasons. Our department along with the district administration and the panchayat functionaries has been trying to amicably solve the issue through discussion. We will complete the rural electrification work by the end of March next year,” Chatterjee said.