Patna: Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said a whopping 54 percent electricity was either “stolen or lost” in Bihar, which “doesn’t produce a single unit from its own power stations.”
“It is a shameful thing that Bihar doesn’t produce a single unit from its own power stations. All the power here is supplied by the Centre or other states. Whatever power plants are here are so old that they have become unworkable. Altogether 54 percent electricity supplied here is either stolen or lost,” Goyal said.
“The honest public has to pay for the electricity theft and losses in the form of inflated bills handed over to them,” he said.
Goyal said the state government recovered the whopping electricity losses from the honest, bill paying customers.
The Union Minister was speaking on the occasion of signing of a MoU between NTPC, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) here to train 25,000 youths in services and manufacturing sectors over the next five years.
Goyal pointed out that Bihar’s demand for electricity was assessed at 2,994 MW, low even in comparison to Delhi which was just a city, but had a demand for 5,800 to 6,000 MW.
“The per capita electricity consumption in Bihar is just 160 units per year, which is very low even in comparison to the national average, which was 1,000 units per year. There are no industries here. There are places where electricity hasn’t reached and if it has reached it doesn’t stay,” he said.
Goyal and Union Skill Development Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy also pointed at the lack of development in the state and exhorted the people to be the part of a change.
The statistics provided by Goyal punched holes into the claims of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar that ample electricity was being supplied to all villages and efforts were on to provide it round-the-clock.
In 2012, Kumar had said he would not seek votes in the Assembly polls if he failed to supply power to all villages in the state.
The Union Power Minister said around one lakh people living in Raghopur area, just a few kilometres across the Ganga from the state capital, were still living without electricity and he has asked his department to start work quickly to light it up.
He reminisced about a school which he visited with his officials, but was astonished to discover that it “existed only on paper.”
Goyal expressed surprise over data, which said Bihar had a power shortage of only 5.9 percent during peak hours.
Claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to see a developed Bihar, he said the Centre has allocated an additional 1,142 MW to the state and more power plants including Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP) were in the offing.
Stating that Bihar lost on opportunities and years passed by due to “politicians who wanted to keep the state away from development” for their own interests, Goyal exhorted the people, specially the youth, to come ahead and make a “sparkling Bihar.”
Pointing at the upcoming Assembly elections, he said this time the fight would be for development, employment and a better future for the state.
NTPC would provide skill development training in 40 districts here and facilitate practical training at its plants, Goyal added.
Talking about lack of skill development in the region, Union Minister for Skill Development Rajiv Pratap Rudy rued that not a “single” driving license for heavy vehicles was issued in Bihar and Jharkhand over the last several years.
“Are our youths not even fit for driving trucks or big machines? It is time now to focus on skill development so that it leads to growth in employment. The first skill development university in the country will be opened in Bihar,” Rudy said.
Rudy also said his Ministry would establish skill development centres at 40 places in the state, which would train and enhance employability of the youth.
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