January 6, 2017

Rural households can register complaints to Central & State authorities though mobile app for electricity issues

Rural households having no electricity connection despite their village having connected to the grid will now be able to register complaints directly to central and state authorities through a mobile phone application.

The application, GARV II launched by Union power minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday will also in the near future give out to the public all details of the electrification contracts given to private players including the work assigned, cost and the deadline in a bid to increase transparency in the government’s village electrification programme and check apathy by local officials.

“For places where Internet facilities are not available, information regarding rural electrification projects such as contractor’s name, amount sanctioned by the government and deadline have to be displayed on the working sites in villages,” Goyal said, adding that this will help in better monitoring of the work.

The minister said the application provides data on the progress of electrification in 600,000 villages with 170 million people, unlike its earlier version that gave data on only 18,452 villages identified in April, 2015 for electrification.

State governments consider every grid-connected village as electrified, even if there is a lack of last mile connectivity. GARV II seeks to address this.

Dinesh Arora, executive director of Rural Electrification Corp. (REC) in-charge of the village lighting programme said that a complaint filed through the mobile application will go to state authorities concerned and will alert the central government authorities. “If the complaint is not resolved within a specified period, the system will throw up alerts,” explained Arora.

Under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), so far, 61% of the 18,452 villages identified in April, 2015 have been connected to the grid. The focus now is to make sure every household gets access to power.

Goyal urged states to make sure that all households whether belonging to below poverty line or not, get access to power. While the poor gets free connections, the minister said that those above poverty line could pay the initial cost in instalments with financial help from central utilities like REC.

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