Bijuli Didis of Odisha : Story of Power and The Power-ful Women of Rural Odisha

Back in 2013, when Odisha Government launched “Bijuli Didi” campaign to sensitize people on judicious use of power, check power theft and reduce commercial loss of electricity in the State, little did they know that it will turn out to be a huge success with active engagement of women members.

As part of the campaign, information was circulated in the media to create awareness on various aspects of electricity. The power distribution companies of Odisha — Central Electricity Supply Utility, North Eastern Electricity Supply Company, Southern Electricity Supply Company, Western Electricity Supply Company and all their franchisees had come together to sponsor the campaign with the punch line ‘My Electricity, My Future, My Responsibility’.

As per reports, over 120 women are currently playing an instrumental role in ensuring hassle-free electricity services to people across the State. They have not only reduced losses but also helped gaining a revenue of ₹7 crore for the state-owned power distribution companies (DISCOMS). Odisha Government has undertaken many campaigns since then, like Bijuli Didi, which makes them independent through livelihood opportunities. The Government has also made arrangements to train more such women members to prepare them before being inducted into the project.

Around 70 more women are undergoing training to extend electricity services across 53 Gram Panchayats in Odisha. The primary work of Bijuli Didi is to collect bill payments and take charge of customer care at public gathering spots such as gram panchayat office, mandis, village chowk and local temples. 
It is estimated that each Bijuli Didi provides service to around 600 to 800 customers for nearly five hours every day. As a result of their effort, nearly 5,000 more customers are receiving monthly bills regularly and an additional 8,000 customers have started paying their bills before deadline. 

Amid restrictions on movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bijuli Didis are educating and sensitizing customers about necessary precautions to be taken to prevent coronavirus infection.

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