With the last village of Leisang in Manipur being connected to the power grid, India achieved its ambitious target of 100 percent electrification.
Even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed it as a “historic day in the development journey of India”, the story of Kodra village showcases a different reality.
Located on the border of Sitapur and Barabanki districts in Uttar Pradesh, Kodra has not even seen a light bulb post-Independence.
The inhabitants lead their lives in the dim light of lanterns. While this has taken a toll on students who are forced to complete their studies during day time, people from other villages are not keen on getting their daughters married in Kodra.
According to locals, electric poles were erected in the villages about two years ago, but they never received electricity.
Speaking to News18, resident Sant Lal said, “We have been running from pillar to post for electricity but nothing happened. Our kids want to study and become doctors and engineers but how will they study in the dark? People are not willing to marry off their daughters in our villages.”
A teenager named Sarla said her studies were getting affected as she was forced to read in the light of an oil lamp.
At a time when the country is making strides towards Digital India, the inhabitants of Kodra are forced to travel to neighbourhood villages to charge their mobile phones.
The lone solar panel that came to their rescue earlier is no longer in a working condition.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said his government supplies electricity for 24 hours in cities and 18 hours in villages. But if the testimonies of the Kodra residents are anything to go by, the claims have fallen flat.
Speaking to News18, executive engineer of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) RK Mishra said,
“This is a very unfortunate situation. I will investigate the matter with officials of the department.
“It will be ascertained which agency worked in the village and why work was left incomplete. If any laxity is found, a notice will be issued to the agency. It will be ensured that the remaining work is completed soon.”
A village is considered electrified if 10% of the total number of households have electricity. This is apart from the basic infrastructure and electrification of certain public centers of the village.
The Standing Committee on Energy (2013) had observed that according to this definition, a village would be called electrified even if up to 90% households in it do not have a basic electricity connection.
However, in Kodra village, not a single household has power supply.