RGGVY angers and disappoints Madhubani; people demand access to reliable and quick energy at RGGVY public hearing in Madhubani

Panel of experts and people recommend local renewable energy to be included in RGGVY to ensure energy to all

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Press release - May 6, 2011
Kapasia village, Madhubani district, 5th May 2011: To voice their concerns on the lack of electricity and disappointment at again being refused the opportunity to develop, more than 400 people participated at the public hearing on Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), organised by Greenpeace and its partner organisation Sakhi at Kapasia village, Madhubani district.

The public hearing was held to discuss and talk about the flagship rural electrification scheme of the United Progressive Alliance, RGGVY, and how it has been faring in Madhubani district.

There are numerous discrepancies in the report and there are vast differences in what the scheme claims and what the audit team found on the ground. For instance, the RGGVY website claims that Madhubani has achieved 97 per cent electrification. However in reality, Greenpeace survey found that almost all the villages surveyed seldom got secured electricity supply even for a day. Nearly half the people got electricity only upto an hour that too for less than 10 days in a month. 24 per cent people did not get electricity at all.

Lamenting the social impacts of lack of electricity, Abdul Quddus, an elderly of Raghepura village said, “My sons migrated to the city as there was no electricity. I am left alone here. My children send me money for a living, but I have no emotional support. I only want government to give us electricity so that more parents are not left alone in the villages.”

Responding to the complaints of people, member of legislative assembly from Khajauli, Arun Shankar Prasad said, “The scheme is not working here and that is because of the kind of scheme implemented by the Union government. There is no hearing in the Union government and even in the implementing agency. We will have to fight for our right and will keep on fighting for electricity. The government should focus on renewable energy so that people can get quick and reliable energy. As a people’s representative, I will definitely take this up in the legislative assembly.”

Youth and the elderly participated in the discussion and put their points across to the panellists comprising of Arun Shankar Prasad, member of legislative assembly, Arun Shankar Prasad, Vinod Singh, Member of Legislative Council, Prof Diwakar, Director of A N Sinha Institute, Naveen Jaiswal, President of Mithilaanchal Chamber of Commerce, Ashok Kumar Singh, RTI activist and Maha Sundari Devi, a decorated Madhubani painter.

“The government, it seems, have stuck to just formalities when it comes to providing electricity to villages. There is actually no electricity supply for a large part of the time rendering the connections completely useless. Awareness about the scheme is abysmal at 92 per cent. Consequently, corruption has made inroads into the scheme. The centralised structure of the scheme and its top down approach in implementation has exposed the various government agencies involved in the implementation of programme and lead to indifference amongst the local administration towards the scheme,” said Arpana Udupa , campaigner, Greenpeace India and in charge of the social audit in Madhubani district.

Moreover, whatever supply reaches Madhubani is of dismal quality. An overwhelming 95 per cent people complained of the low voltages and erratic supply of electricity that often reached villages post midnight when it is of no use to them.

Elaborating on the fundamental issues with the scheme, Arpana Udupa added, “This wrong approach, irregular, insecure and untimely supply of electricity puts a big question mark on the scheme. The scheme has the potential to truly electrify and energise rural India. But the very framework of the scheme and its implementation has meant that the scheme has neither reached its goal nor attained its vision. It is very clear from the survey results that RGGVY needs to be revamped to suit local requirements and decentralised renewable energy can bridge that gap.”

Greenpeace recommends that an alternative pathway which includes following only can energise Bihar:

• Uptake of small scale renewable energy generation units to ensure quality electricity generation and supply at local level.

• Involvement of local agencies and inclusion of irrigation and medium and small scale industries for sustainable development of village.

Greenpeace will send the report of the social audit to the state and central government. With the state in the midst of violent protests against non availability of electricity, chief minister Nitish Kumar should communicate to the Planning Commission and the Union government to consider the findings of social audit and to include decentralised renewable energy generation into the RGGVY scheme before they roll out the 13th five year plan.


For further information, please contact:

• Arpana Udupa, campaigner, Greenpeace India, 0953515200,  

• Shachi Chaturvedi, senior media officer, Greenpeace India, 09818750007,

• Munna Jha, media consultant, Greenpeace India, 09570099300,

• Suman Singh, Secretary, SAKHI, 09431021204