Powering Nagaland - Eastern Mirror
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Editorial

Powering Nagaland

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Dec 15, 2020 10:30 pm

India has been aiming at providing uninterrupted power supply to every household in the country but it is still a distant dream. According to a recent survey conducted by Smart Power India in association with Rockefeller Foundation and NITI Aayog, only 87% of the population has access to grid-based electricity, while the remaining 13% either uses non-grid sources for electricity or don’t have access at all. Though the numbers look impressive, providing power regularly remains a big challenge for the Indian power sector. The ambitious initiative to achieve 100% electrification in the country has failed to reach some areas in Nagaland state. Recent data provided by the state’s Directorate of Economics and Statistics revealed that out of 1237 villages surveyed, 1228 have been electrified while the remaining nine still do not have electricity connection. The Power department said that the state-owned utilities have not been able to keep pace with the growth in demand of electricity despite financial assistance from the Centre, resulting in its inability to ensure reliable and quality power supply to rural consumers. It went on to say that the status of rural electrification in the state is high but a significant number of un-electrified habitations are added every year and the per capita consumption of the state stands dismally low at 260 units against the national average of over 917 units due to poor economy and deficient distribution network. Electrification is one thing and providing quality power supply is quite another. The former has no value without the latter, and the people of the state, especially those in rural areas will know this best.

While the public has been constantly complaining about power outages in the state, one aspect the people have failed to look into is the revenue that is needed to provide the facility. Principal Secretary of Power, KD Vizo had recently informed that small hydro projects in the state have the capacity to generate only 26.74 MW while the requirement is several times higher. The state has to spend close to INR 300 crore to meet the shortfall. With the state’s demand expected to touch almost 450 Megawatt (MW) by 2021, power crisis will only deepen and load-shedding will occur more often than today if the citizens fail to stop rampant power theft. The Power department has made it clear that it won’t be able to fulfil its objective of providing uninterrupted electricity if power theft continues, reasoning that revenue is necessary for providing the facility. It said ‘revenue leakages’ due to power theft is extremely high in the state, especially in Dimapur. This illegal practice has to stop if we want stable power supply. We should pay electricity bills regularly and on time, only then will we have the moral right to complain about power outages and hold the department accountable for any failure. Conserving energy by reducing unnecessary usage is also important. On its part, the Power department needs to introduce latest technology to curb power theft menace through better bill collection mechanism and penalising of defaulters. We can’t afford to undermine power supply, which is the engine of economic growth, or else we remain “power-less”.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Dec 15, 2020 10:30:34 pm
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