Recently, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated 28 sub-stations of Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Limited (UPPTCL) through video conferencing. He also said that he is aiming to provide 24-hour electricity. BJP government also claims that the rural areas of India receive 17-18 hours of electricity supply and the city areas receive 24-hour of electricity supply. However, on the ground, in Sultanpur district, the reality is against what BJP government claims.
It was about four in the evening when we reached a village called Dikhaoli, Dubeypur, in Sultanpur district. Many villagers were sitting outside their houses with their children. They were waving hand-made fans to make themselves cooler. When I asked about why they are sitting outside the house and using hand fans, Majila replied, “there is no electricity since morning. Around noon there was electricity for an hour and then no electricity so far. That is why we are sitting outside.”
Majila also said that because of rain the environment is a little colder. “In summer, when it is too hot, we get frustrated because of irregular electricity,” added Majila. She further said that that is why they cook early and have dinner while lighting oil lamps.
Another villager from the same village told that he follows the news and is fully aware that in villages the government is supplying 18-hour electricity. “However, I don’t know why we receive a maximum 10-hour electricity only. If something gets faulty, we have to stay at least two days without electricity. They take more time to repair,” said Jai Kumar. Kumar also said that electricity supply gets discontinued every 30 to 45 minutes.
Another village called Saray, Bhai, Sultanpur was having electricity at the time of our visit, however, the villagers are not happy with the irregular electricity. “We have electricity now, but we don’t have more than 10 hours of electricity. In monsoon, the electricity gets irregular at an extreme level. When we complain in the electricity office, hardly anyone comes forward to solve the issue,” said Surendra Kumar.
Villages are given dedicated light men. who are deployed to look after the electricity problems and repair if something gets faulty. Villagers complain that the light men don’t listen to their complaints. On top of that, they also charge money for repair work.
Vijay Bahadur Yada, Dikhaoli, Sultanpur, told that he has been contacting the light man since morning, “he has been saying he is coming soon but he is yet to show up and check what’s the problem. Moreover, he also charges money which I don’t think is right because it should be taken care of by the electricity office, not by us.”
Vipin Gupta from Saray village also said the same. “Many times, villagers contribute money and call the light man and make him come by saying that we have collected money for the work. Then the light man comes without a second call. This is how they work. In the first hand, they don’t supply regular electricity. On the other hand, they charge for repairing whatever is faulty. But we don’t have any choice. If we don’t pay we will have to stay without electricity for more days which is unbearable,” added Gupta.
Irregular electricity also affects villagers work. Yadav, who is a farmer pointed his finger towards his farm and said, “see I have been waiting for electricity for three hours. I have to irrigate my farm. How can I do farming in this situation.” Yadav further added, “we are not so rich that we can afford and maintain expenses of electric generators to do farming.”
Another villager from Naraharpur in Sultanpur who is a potter and makes disposable clay glasses and teacups and supplies to restaurants. However, because of irregular electricity, his work gets delayed. “It has been for years. We can’t do anything about it no matter how many times we talk to the village pradhan about the irregular electricity,” said Nanhe Lal.
The Uttar Pradesh government has provided customer care numbers for making complaints on the electricity issues. However, it doesn’t work as it should be. I complained about the irregular electricity in my village, Dehali Mubarak, a week ago. I even received a message that the problem has been resolved. However, there is no electricity for more than 7-hour even after making multiple complaints.
CM Yogi Adityanath is promising 24-hour electricity. First, the Uttar Pradesh government should make sure that the rural areas of Uttar Pradesh are receiving regular 18-hour electricity and reduce the frequent occurring faults and then make further promises.