Power minister faces BJP, Congress MLAs’ ire

BHOPAL: Congress and BJP legislators came down heavily on minister for energy Paras Jain over the issue of electrification of villages during the question hour in the state assembly Tuesday.
BJP MLA from Chaurai assembly segment in Chhindwara, Ramesh Dubey, alleged that a tribal village in his constituency, Tekapar, hasn’t been electrified even after 70 years of Independence.
He said he has been regularly writing to both the state energy department and the SC/ST welfare department for electrification of the village since 2004, but the government has still not taken note of the grim situation. Dubey said he last wrote a letter to the energy department on September 26 this year.
“There has only been exchange of letters and nothing has materialised on the ground,” he told the House. In reply, Paras Jain said the village was brought under the non-conventional power scheme in 1994, but now the solar panels are no longer working and hence the village has no electricity. The minister said the work will be initiated in Tekapar village in Bichhua development block and repairs will be carried out.
In another question, Congress MLA Umang Singhar asked how many villages in Gandhwani, Baag and Tirla blocks in Dhar will be electrified under the 12th phase of the Rajiv Gandhi Vidyutikaran Yojana. Jain said there are 155 villages under the proposed plan, but only those with a population of 100 and more will be electrified. He also said that Gandhwani has 99 such villages, Baag has 49 and Tirla the remaining 7. Of these, electrification work has been completed in six villages. Under attack from MLAs, the minister admitted that work has been delayed because of a lackadaisical contractor. “The contractor has been penalised,” he explained.
Singhar said, “I am aware that not all villages will get electricity, but at least specify the criteria to choose a hamlet for electrification.” Jain said population was the only criteria.