The Uttarakhand government is distributing power packs for providing off-grid power to households in remote areas but it itself remains in the dark whether the move complies with the Centre’s mission of complete rural electrification by 2019.
There are roughly about 60 villages where electricity is yet to reach in Uttarakhand.
While solar electric power system is considered as a source of electrification by the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, the mandate on power pack is still unclear. The solar system is funded under the Centre’s flagship project Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana.
Officials have now submitted papers seeking clearance from the Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) regarding the move. The REC releases central funds to the states for works related to rural electrification.
On October 8, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat distributed 101 solar briefcases and power packs to families staying in remote areas. The solar briefcases and the power packs were funded by Hans Foundation, an NGO, which aims to distribute 10,000 such devices in the state.
“We don’t know whether the REC will approve these power packs as a part of the Centre government’s electrification process…We will be seeking permission soon. It will take a few months to get clearance,” Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited, project, director MK Jain told Hindustan Times on Wednesday.
The Corporation has set a target to provide electricity to one lakh households located at border areas, scattered villages and those divided by forests in Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Pithoragarh districts. In remote locations where power grids cannot reach, the power department is installing solar power systems and providing power packs.
Indian American businessman and philanthropist Manoj Bhargava is providing the 300-watt power packs through Hans Foundation in the state. As per reports, each power pack costs Rs 14,500. Coming with the 12-year warranty, the device can run small appliances like fans, mobiles and bulbs. It can be recharged with the help of solar energy.
“Uttarakhand with which we have been working with … has ordered 100,000 units (of power packs) already. They have places where they cannot get electricity and they have realised that the only way they can get electricity is going to be this method,” Bhargava had told reporters in Delhi. The power packs would be supplied to Uttarakhand sometime late November, he added.