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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar:  In Prime Minister Modi's LED revolution, it's Odisha which has seemingly 'led' the country in LED revolution. The State topped the country in LED bulbs distribution. The State remained light years ahead of its big counterparts like UP, Bihar, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All) scheme, which was launched by PM Modi on January 5, 2015, has completed its 5th anniversary on January 5 this year. Significantly, UJALA was launched in Odisha in April 2016. Under the scheme, EESL provided consumers 9 Watt LED bulbs at a rate of Rs. 70, LED tube lights at a rate Rs. 290, respectively, which are much below the market price.

Odisha has seemingly reaped big as data with the Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) shows the State not only entailed in saving a whopping 67.82 lakh megawatt hour (MWh) energy every year but also avoided a peak demand to the tune of 1,358 MW.

Moreover, as per EESL, Odisha households saw monetary saving to the tune of Rs 2,713 crore and it has also helped the State in reducing 54.94 lakh tonnes of CO2/year.

As on January 5, 2020, the total LED bulb distribution stood at over 5.22 crore. The LED penetration in Odisha stood at a healthy nearly 6 bulbs per household. Tribal districts alone accounted for a massive 1.3 cr LED bulbs.

The district-wise data available with EESL shows Khurda district 'LED' the chart in State with a total distribution of over 45.85 lakh LED bulbs as on the 5th anniversary of UJALA.

However, when it comes to LED penetration per household, Jharsuguda led the State. With around 67,800 households, the LED penetration (number of LED bulbs per household) in the district stood at around 12. In contrast, Khurda district has over 5.03 lakh households and LED penetration in the district stood at only 9 LED per household.

Though Ganjam is ranked 2nd in LED distribution (41.32lakh), in LED per household, districts like Cuttack and tribal districts like Malkangiri and Koraput are light years ahead than their coastal counterpart in LED penetration.

The LED bulbs penetration in Koraput district stood high at 5.96 per household and is followed by Malkangiri with a penetration count of 5.7 LED bulbs per household. Both the districts seemingly have a penetration higher than the State average.

As per data available, The LED penetration per household  in Cuttack district stood at 6.1. Lowest LED penetration in State is recorded in Dhenkanal district, where each household has mere 4 LED bulbs.

The tribal districts that have a penetration rate of below the State average of 5.6 are: Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Mayubhanj, Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Nabrangpur.

When LED per household in Kandhamal and Kalahandi stood at 5.18 and 5.2 per household, respectively, the count in Mayurbhanj stood at 4.7/household, 4.9/household in Keonjhar, 4.2 in Nabarangpur and 4.5 in Sundargarh.

Since it is being said that a best public policy is gauged on the yardstick of the colossal impact it had on public, months ahead of 2019 elections, CM Naveen Patnaik had launched a scheme on the lines of UJALA with a name 'Ama Ghare LED'. Though it has a target of distributing 3.8 crore LED bulbs free of cost to 75 lakh families, the scheme is languishing for the lack of funds.

The big reason: While Modi's UJALA is a non-subsidised scheme, Naveen's LED comes with a subsidy component, which was to be funded from State's exchequer.

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