Odisha Energy Minister Pratap Keshari Deb, in a written reply to a question of BJP MLA Kusum Tete at the State Assembly on December 2, said that as many as 13, 400 villages (Pada gram) in the State including 80 villages of Sundargarh district have no electricity.
The Energy Minister also said that the State has set a target to electrify all the villages by June 2023.
Interestingly, the Minister in September this year had claimed that around 98 per cent villages of the State have been electrified.
Moreover, the BJD government claims that Odisha is a power surplus State. However, the Energy Minister’s Statement in the house exposed the reality and drew criticism from various quarters.
Sundargarh MLA Kusum Tete slashed the BJD government saying, “If the State has a surplus of power, how come it fails to provide electricity connectivity to over 13,000 villages.”
According to sources, the Centre has released 90 per cent of allocated funds to Odisha in order to provide energy access to all of last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all remaining un-electrified households in rural as well as urban areas under the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana or Saubhagya scheme.