UP launches free power connection scheme to mark Vajpayee's birthday

Uttar Pradesh has launched a free household power connection scheme for the poor in the state to mark former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's birth anniversary.

"To begin with Lohban and Gausana, the two villages of Mathura district have been covered for 100 per cent electrification on the birth anniversary of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee," said Srikant Sharma, Uttar Pradesh Power Minister.

The government has a target of covering 16 million by 2018-end, driven by Yogi Adityanath government's motto 'Prakash hai to vikas hai' (the barometer of development is light), he stated.

As against the target of 4 crore under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Saubhagy scheme, the state so far has provided 25 lakh household connections.

The government has also introduced Kisan Uday Yojana, a novel scheme for farmers, the minister said, adding that existing 5 HP/7.5 HP submersible and coupling sets of farmers will be replaced free of cost.

According to Sharma, the scheme, which would cover 10 lakh farmers by 2022, would lead to 35 per cent saving on power consumption.

On allegations that the power tariff has been enhanced to benefit private power suppliers, he said the picture in reality is otherwise.

BPL card holders, those without a roof or having less than Rs 35,000 as income a year are eligible. They can get connection by paying Rs 550 only as against the earlier Rs 10,000.

He said initial payment under the scheme would be only Rs 50 while the rest is payable in 10 instalments of Rs 50 each.

On allegations of former minister Raghuvansh Pratap Singh that Lalu Yadav has been jailed in the fodder scam as per Delhi's plan, he said it has become a fashion to target Modi.