The Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association has appealed to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to avoid action against any farmer undertaking agricultural operations utilising two-phase supply.
In a statement here, Mahadhanapuram V. Rajaram, working president of the association, thanked her for assuring 12-hour three-phase power supply for kuruvai cultivation.
Misuse of supply
He admitted that some farmers did use two-phase supply for agriculture because of non-availability of 12-hour three-phase supply apart from serious drought and acute paucity of water in the rivers and canals. “If it were to rain or if they were to get water in the Cauvery, farmers won’t use even the three-phase supply. The Government knows it. Even in the Assembly, the Minister for Electricity did mention that although utilising two-phase power for agriculture was legally wrong, the government has not initiated any action against any agriculturist.”
Mr. Rajaram said that under the previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam regime, action was taken against farmers for utilising free power for crops such as coconut and banana and other horticultural crops.
Even if free power was used for watering milch animals, it was treated as an offence. If some drumstick trees in a farm were watered, the then Electricity Board treated it as “power theft”.“That was why farmers were forced to launch an agitation against the State government then,” he said.
However, Ms. Jayalalithaa had ordered the Electricity Department to avoid any action against farmers who were using two-phase supply for farming operations.
According to Mr. Rajaram, farmers felt that the Chief Minister should explicitly direct the Electricity Department not to initiate any action against them if they were using two-phase power. “They could be given a warning. Otherwise, farmers, who had been struggling against the drought, would start harbouring resentment against the State government,” he said.
He appealed to Ms. Jayalalithaa not to permit any such “wrong” on the part of the Electricity Department.
While he was reconciled to the delayed opening of the Mettur dam for irrigation as it was necessary to have a substantial storage in the reservoir, he pleaded that considerable water should be released for the crops on 1.25 lakh acres of land in Salem, Namakkal, Erode, Karur, Pudukkotttai, and part of Thanjavur and also to meet the drinking water needs.