Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today announced that his government has extended electricity to all the 1.39 crore households in the state much ahead of the December 31 deadline, an achievement that will go a long way in empowering its residents.
“Parents in rural areas will no longer have to dissuade their children from stepping out at night by saying that there are ghosts lurking in the dark. Now that all the villages in Bihar are electrified, people can step out whenever they please,” said Mr Kumar, clearly ecstatic about the development.
But the electricity department’s work in the state is far from over. The Bihar Chief Minister identified two important tasks that were yet to be completed — the installation of separate power feeders for agriculture and the replacement of old wires — and instructed officials to address them at the earliest.
“Things have become much better now. Our children are able to study regularly, and the women in the household are able to do their chores without much difficulty,” said Arvind Kumar, a resident of Patna.
Although the coming of electricity has made many happy, it is greeted with suspicion in some parts of rural Bihar. One such sceptic, Pramod Kumar from Phulwarisharif area, continues dines with his family under a hurricane lamp. “They did come here to electrify my house, but I don’t know if I should use it. What if it gets too expensive for me?” he asked.
Mr Kumar had declared all the 39,073 villages of Bihar electrified in December 2017, and promised to ensure that every household received power connections by the same month the following year. He said that the state government’s efforts in this regard were a part of his saat nischay (seven resolves) of good governance. “Back in 2005, when we first came to power, small towns and villages in Bihar had all but given up hope of getting electricity. The situation was very bad even in Patna,” he said.
Mr Kumar has frequently termed electrification of rural areas as his government’s main priority. His model was later adopted by the central government as the “Saubhagya Yojna”, a project aimed at electrifying every household in India by December.