Jammu and Kashmir has achieved another milestone under Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana ‘Saubhagya’ with the Union Territory accomplishing the 100 percent target of rural electrification.
The J&K administration has proactively worked in ensuring electrification to every village which is visible from the fact that almost 3,57,405 households have been electriﬁed in whole of the UT. J&K has also received a reward of Rs100 crore from the Government of India for achieving the target of 100% electriﬁcation ahead of the timeline.
Jammu and Kashmir is faced with many natural barriers like mountainous terrains and tough topography of the region thus providing energy access in these hard locations was a distant dream just a couple of years ago. For the first time, after 73 years of independence village Saddal of Udhampur district and Ganouri-Tanta village of Doda district saw the light of an electric bulb ending decades of darkness from the lives of villagers.
Remote villages in the Kellar area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district had only heard of electricity but Saubhagya scheme lightened up their lives when they witnessed electricity in their homes.
Similarly, villagers in far flung and hilly border areas of Nowshera sub division in Rajouri are experiencing a big transformation in their lives after receiving electricity under the government’s Saubhagya scheme. This area was deprived of power supply from the last seven decades and the scheme.
“We are grateful to the government for launching ambitious schemes like Saubhgya which has made our lives comfortable and convenient in incredible ways. Earlier, our children could not study due to lack of electricity. We had to go to another village to get our mobile phones charged,” said Abdul Hamid, a resident from the area.
In 2017, Saubhagya was launched with the objective of achieving Universal Household Electrification in the country through last mile connectivity and providing access to electricity to all un-electrified households in rural areas and poor households in urban areas. While launching the scheme, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, had pledged to provide access to electricity and work towards equity, efficiency and sustainability in the new Age India.
Under the SAUBHAGYA scheme, Distribution Companies (DISCOMs) organized camps in village or cluster of villages to facilitate on-the-spot filling up of application forms including the release of electricity connections to households. BRSIDES, DISCOMs/Power Departments also adopted innovative mechanisms like dedicated web-portal and mobile app for collection and consolidation of application form in electronic mode and also capturing process of release of electricity connections.
In another significant move by the government, GARV (Grameen Vidyutikaran) App was launched which aims to monitor transparency in implementation of the electrification schemes, Grameen Vidyut Abhiyantas (GVAs) have been appointed by the government to report progress through GARV app.
Also, mobile apps like ‘Gram Jyoti Doot’, ‘Urja Vistaar’ have been devised for fast track release of power connections. ‘Saubhagya Rath’ in all districts, is being lauded as an innovative practice by the Power Ministry.
Besides, the government has also given the concept of ‘4 Es’ in the revised Tariff Policy which included ‘Electricity for all, Efficiency to ensure affordable tariffs, Environment for a sustainable future and Ease of Doing business to attract investments and ensure financial viability.
According to the government data, with 100% electrification target being achieved, the administration’s focus is now to provide consistent electricity at affordable rates, power tariff reforms, last-mile connectivity, and electricity connections to all households in rural and urban areas.