Power for first time, J&K beneficiaries say PM changed their lives

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that his Government proposed to electrify all households under Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) while people from couple of villages in Jammu and Kashmir, who saw the light for the first time in their lives under the Scheme were all praise for Modi saying their life, which was dependent on Sun rise and Sun set, has now changed and that they could work or study up to late nights.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the Central Government has earmarked Rs 1100 crore for electrification of all households in all three regions of the State including Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh with deadline of December 2018.
Like other parts of the country, Modi spoke to couple of beneficiaries of Saubhagya scheme from villages of Reasi district through video conferencing in which 9th class student Aarti Sharma from village Kanota in Reasi district said she could now study late up to night as her village, Kanota in remote area of Reasi, has been electrified under the Prime Minister’s scheme.
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“My family had to walk 30 kilometers up to Reasi to bring kerosene oil as there was no electricity in the village. We couldn’t study after the Sun set as entire village would turn dark. Now the situation has changed entirely. We can study late till in the night due to electrification of the village,” Aarti said in her inter-action with Modi through video conferencing.
Little Aarti went on: “it’s like ‘Taare Zameen Par’ for us. We used to be terrified in our houses in the darkness when there was no electricity in our village. Now, we can do any work in the villages till late hours”.
Aarti, who was all praise for Modi, said she wanted to speak few lines on him, which the Prime Minister permitted.
“Aisa Avtaar Darti Par Aaya! Taron Ko Zameen Par Laya! Narendra Modi Sa Woh Kahlaya”, Aarti said.
Seventy year old Assadullah of village Khour in Reasi district said the people of his village had no power even 70 years after independence and were suffering a lot.
“My village is located 300 kilometers from Reasi and falls in remotest part of Reasi district. We suffered a lot without power. This is for the first time that we have seen electricity in the village,” Assad said showering all kind of praises on the Prime Minister.
Modi commented: “it’s good that you (Assadullah) are worried for the village”.
Assadullah said earlier they had to complete all works in the village before Sun set but now the situation has changed and we can work right up to the night due to electrification of the village.
Official sources told the Excelsior that Jammu and Kashmir has been earmarked Rs 1100 crore under ‘Saubhagaya’ scheme for electrification of all households by December 2018. However, going by topography of the un-electrified households, sources didn’t rule out that completion of work could take little more than the deadline.
Earlier, Modi slammed the previous UPA regime for tardy implementation of its target to electrify all households, and said that his Government will provide connections to about 2.67 crore remaining homes by the end of this year.
Interacting with beneficiaries of the Rs 16,320-crore Saubhagya Scheme through video bridge, he said that the then Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) had gone overboard by promising that all households will be electrified by 2009.
This is the tenth interaction in the series by the Prime Minister through video conference with the beneficiaries of various Government schemes.
Modi also interacted with people from Leisang village in Manipur, which was the last among the 18,000 villages to have been electrified by the Government.
In an official communication issued on March 29, 2005, as Chairperson of National Advisory Council, Gandhi had said, “I am very happy to know that the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana’ is being launched by the Ministry of Power. It is an initiative which will go a long way in realising the goal of providing access to electricity to all households by the year 2009.”
She had also said: “This programme will speed up the development of our rural areas, generate vast opportunities for employment and contribute to more equitable growth. Harnessing science and technology for the benefit of our people was something dear to Rajiv Ji. He would have been very happy with this programme. I wish all those associated with the implementation of the programme success in this endeavour.”
About that promise, Modi said: “When our Government came to power, there were 18,000 un-electrified villages. Earlier Governments made many promises to provide electricity but those were not fulfilled. Nothing was done in that direction.
“In 2005, about 13 years ago, at that time there was a Congress Government, Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister. They promised to provide electricity to all villages by 2009. The then Congress President (Gandhi) went overboard and said electricity will be provided to all households by 2009.”
Under the Saubhagya scheme, Modi Government plans to electrify about 3.6 crore households in the country by March 31, 2019. As many as 88.01 crore households have already been electrified as per Saubhagaya portal. The Government is trying to meet the target sooner than that, by December 31 this year.
Modi said that those who considered doing public welfare should have gone to villages, asked about electrification, prepared reports and talked about civil society on this. “Then it was possible, that electrification of households would have been completed by 2010 or 2011. But at that time, promises were not kept because there was no serious leader.”
He further said that when his Government takes its promises seriously, then all efforts are made by the opposition to find shortcomings.
He said everybody wants optimum utilization of time for progress, but if 12 hours from the day are reduced then what can people do. “You would not able to complete your tasks. Lakhs of people living in remote villages lived this kind of life. They had active life between Sun rise and Sun set (only). Availability of Sun lights used to determine their working hours.

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