Bhubaneswar: Union Coal and Energy Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said Odisha villages which remain un-electrified would be provided electric supply within the next one-and-half years.

Goyal, who attended a review meeting of the power sector with state government officials on Thursday, said about 4,000 villages or 50 lakh households were yet to have electricity connection even after so many years of Independence.

The union minister said all the villages would be electrified under two central schemes — Integrated Power Development Scheme and Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana.

Goyal on Friday also met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who apprised the former about the problems, including law and order and land acquisition, for electricity connection to villages in the state.

Stating that the agricultural electricity consumption of farmers is just two percent in the state, the minister said a separate dedicated line would be ensured to supply electricity to the farmers of Odisha.

Goyal asked the state government to set up a large solar power project, citing inadequate presence of solar energy facilities in the state.

He said the state government has identified three locations for pumped storage hydropower plants.

Speaking on the health sector, the minister informed about the Centre’s plans to set up eight new medical college and hospitals in the state in the coming days.

The Centre has proposed eight medical colleges in the state. While three would be set up by public sector units, five would be funded by the Centre, allotting a 75 percent share, said Goyal.

Source: IANS