'Power' tussle: Centre cites NGO data to counter Akhilesh over electricity in UP


India, Politics

Modi on Sunday alleged discrimination in power supply in the state on the basis of religion.

UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi duck to avoid hanging cables during a road show in Lucknow. (Photo: PTI/File)

New Delhi: The central government on Tuesday quoted data collected by an NGO and cited media reports to counter the contention of UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav about 24-hour availability of power in Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Amid a war of words between Modi and Akhilesh over supply of electricity in UP where polls are underway, the central government said it had created an URJA App to provide urban power data for the consumers but the state government had stopped giving data in it.

Modi on Sunday alleged discrimination in power supply in the state on the basis of religion. In his counter, Akhilesh yesterday asked Modi to swear by ‘Ganga Maiyya’ (mother Ganga) if his constituency Varanasi had not been getting 24-hour power supply.

“The UP government was providing data in it till August 2016 but due to very bad ranking particularly in power cuts (in terms of times and duration), the state government has stopped giving data,” it said in a statement.

“As per the data provided in August 2016, UP had more than 2 times the number of power cuts and 7 times the hours of power cuts as compared to (rest of) India,” the Centre said.

It added that, “If Varanasi is getting 24-hour power, then why is UP government trying to hide power supply data from the world? Independent third party shows poor power supply position in Varanasi.”

Citing some media reports, the Centre said parts of Varanasi suffer long power cuts, including on last Sunday when the Prime Minister said there should be no discrimination in supply of electricity.

It also quoted the statistics prepared by NGO ‘Prayas’ which collects power supply data from specific towns across the country.

“As per the data collected by them (Prayas), in four parts of Varanasi (Sundarpur, Pandeypur, Sarang Talab and Shivpur), in Shivpur (in Varanasi District), the situation is very bad where the area has been experiencing almost 8-10 hours of power cuts per day for the last 3 months.

“Situation in other areas in Varanasi like Sundarpur, Pandeypur and Sarang Talab is also poor and have been experiencing power cuts of 1-2 hours per day,” it added.

Citing a reporty by ‘Prayas’, the Union government said, “UP is the only state which has not signed ‘Power for all’ document. All other states in the country have signed the ‘Power for all’ document which creates a roadmap for providing power to all consumers in the states.”

The statement added that, “Despite, repeated follow ups, UP has not shown interest in providing power for all of its citizens. Despite 5 letters to UP Government in 13 months, the document was not signed.

“Also, 7 meetings and video conferencing notices were issued on this subject to UP, but the UP government has not shown any initiative to sign this document.” The statement said, “1.6 of 3 crore rural households in UP don t have electricity connections, but the present government is not interested in resolving electricity crisis.” Alleging discrimination on religious grounds in implementation of the DDUGJY (Deen Dayal Ujwal Gram Jyoti Yojana) Scheme, the Centre said the Samajwadi Party government had “selective focus” on “few areas”.

It claimed that “large scale discrimination on the basis of religion has been unearthed in Moradabad”.