In a span of less than a week, Bajaj Electricals has announced the winning of electrification orders worth nearly Rs.6,000 crore. These orders involving rural and urban electrification will be implemented in Uttar Pradesh. Both the orders are part of the national household electrification scheme, Saubhagya.
On April 16, the Mumbai-headquartered Bajaj Electricals said in a stock exchange filing that its Engineering & Projects Business Unit had bagged orders for ten rural and urban electrifications orders from power distribution utility Madhyachal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Ltd. These ten orders will be spread over the districts of Baudan & Bareli, Lucknow & Unao, Sahajanpur & Pilhibit, Sultanpur & Amethi, Hardoi, Faizabad, Barabanki, Gonda and Ambedkar Nagar districts.
Earlier on April 11, Bajaj Electricals told stock exchanges that another Uttar Pradesh state government discom Purvachal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Ltd placed orders worth Rs.2,389 crore for six rural electrification packages in Varanasi, Fatehpur, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Pratapgarh, and Mau & Ballia districts of the northern state.
Both the orders will be implemented in a time period of 15 months, Bajaj Electricals said.
The Centrally-sponsored Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) scheme involves electrifying all 4.04 crore households in urban and rural India, by April 1, 2019. However, going by the current progress, the deadline will need to be extended. For instance, it will be at least July 2019 by the time the Bajaj Electricals orders discussed above are completed.
It may be mentioned that some other contracting companies like Ashoka Buildcon have also recently reported the winning of Saubhagya-related electrification works, in Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh: Much work in store
Uttar Pradesh has the dubious distinction of housing the highest number of non-electrified households in the country. According to a government report of September 2017, UP had 1.47 crore households without electricity connection. This means that the northern state accounts for 36 per cent of India’s 4.04 crore non-electrified households. Within UP, the extent of household electrification is barely 50 per cent.
At the national level, the number of non-electrified households stood at 4.04 crore, representing over 22 per cent of the total 17.92 crore.
It is clear from the above statistics that the way UP fares with respect to the Saubhagya scheme will largely determine the scheme’s national success.
(Featured photograph sourced from tytw.org.au shows a typical village in Uttar Pradesh)