Millennium Post

Power dept hopeful of complete electrification in Bengal soon

Kolkata: The state Power department is optimistic of complete electrification in the state by the end of this financial year. The hope of West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL), the state's nodal distribution agency, rests upon the fact that they have been able to complete the electrification of 14 remote villages in the Sunderbans, which was a major challenge.

"59 places in the Sunderbans had partial electricity. We have completed the supply in 53 of them and only six are left. It will take a little over two months," a senior official of WBSEDCL said.
As per sources in WBSEDCL, Bengal will be the fourth state in the country to have achieved 100 percent electrification. Maharashtra, Gujarat and Kerala are the three other states that have already achieved the magic figure.
Initially, the Power department had set a December 17 deadline for the target. "Our officials had to work extremely hard as the 14 remote villages had very poor connectivity. We had to carry transformers and power poles on boats across the river and then take carts for carrying the requisite equipment. People in this part of the state had never imagined that they would have electricity. But the government was determined," the official said.
It may be noted that these 14 villages are located on four islands. Work for the project had begun soon after the 2016 assembly elections in Bengal. The state government had sanctioned a whopping Rs 1,000 crore for complete electrification. A number of places in Sunderbans had partial electricity, as work was stalled due to financial constraints and for several other factors related to connectivity. "However, everything is now on track and the state Power minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay had been constantly monitoring the progress of work and keeping the Chief Minister informed of the developments," the official added.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after coming to power in 2011, had urged the Power department to provide electricity to the entire Sunderbans area through a power grid. She had taken a pledge to electrify each and every village across the state.
It may be mentioned that the Power department initially had faced hurdles in some parts as many villagers were reluctant to get an electricity connection due to financial constraints. All issues were resolved with the involvement of local panchayat functionaries and zilla parishads.
The Bengal government has been laying a lot of emphasis on rural electrification. It has received accolades from the Centre on more than one occasion for performing exceedingly well in the rural electrification work in comparison to other states.

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