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Gramjyoti

Scheme for time bound electrification of phalias(HAMLETS)

During village contact drive (gram sampark abhiyan) and meetings in Panchayats, there was a persistent demand for electrification of phalias (hamlets) throughout the district. Dhar is a tribal majority district with 54% tribal population spread over 1487 revenue villages. All of these except 5 have been electrified. However, tribals do not live in one centralised habitation in the village. Each village has several habitations called phalias. The 1487 revenue villages actually consist of 3494 habitations if one counts habitations with at least 20 houses. This includes 1487 main habitations of the revenue villages. Of the outlying 2007 habitations, only 818 phalias have been electrified. Thus, only 41% phalias are electrified. The unelectrified 1199 phalias have a population of 2.36 lacs which is 21% of the rural population of the district. Coupled with the single point connection scheme of the government for giving free electrical connection for domestic use and electric pumps to BPL families, taking electric lines to the habitations holds the key for effective rural development. Thus, Phalia electification is clearly a priority area for development of this tribal district.

Survey of all habitations has been done through CEOs of Janpada Panchayats. Based on this survey, the MPEB has prepared first estimates of all 1199 villages. Beyond 30 electric poles (1.8 km), transformers are required which entail heavy expenditure and, therefore, the per capita investment does not justify the electrification of such distant phalias. Of the 1199 unelectrified phalias, 95 phalias are at a distance of more than 1.5 km from the existing electric line.

In view of the above, Gramjyoti scheme was formulated for the district under which all 1104 unelectrified phalias having at least 20 houses and lying within 1.5 km of existing line would be electrified within 3 years from convergence of financial resources available at the district level. Gram Panchayats desirous of electifying their phalias under the scheme would have to contribute 25% of the cost from their own resources which could also come from the State Finance Commission grants given to Gram Panchayats. Further, resources from the ITDP Special Central Assistance funds would also be mobilised in line with the decision already taken in ITDP committee meetings. Most watershed committees are also desirous of using their entry point work funds for the purpose. Further, Indira Awas Yojana infrastructure funds can also be used for electrification according to the instructions issued by the Rural Development department.

Thus, over a 3 year period, Rs. 4 crores would be available from ITDP funds, Rs. 2 crores would come from entry point funds under watershed programme, Rs. 0.6 crores would come from Indira Awas Yojana infrastructure funds and Rs. 2.2 crores would come from Gram Panchayat contributions (including State Finance Commission grants). Thus, Rs. 8.8 crores would be mobilised. The MPEB estimates put the cost of electrification of these 1104 phalias at Rs. 8.63 crores.

Based on Zila Panchayat resolution, a public trust called Gramjyoti Trust would be registered for coordinating the execution of the scheme and ensuring public participation and financial contribution for the scheme. The Trust would consist of relevant officers, public representatives and other prominent citizens.

At present, MPEB electrifies only 10 to 15 phalias every year. At this rate, it would take more than 100 years to electrify all the habitations. Instead of this, Dhar district would be able to electrify all phalias from its own resources within 3 years, thus becoming the first district to do so. As a result, 2.36 lac people would get the benefit of electric lighting and pump irrigation. This would result in a quantum jump in the human and economic development of the tribal population as well as economic growth of this tribal district.

Zila Panchayat, Dhar through its resolution dated 21.1.99 has linked benefit under this scheme to increase of land revenue surcharge from the current level of 50% to 100%.