Government criticised for not ensuring even three hours of uninterrupted power supply to their fields

With the power supply position turning from bad to worse in the semi-arid Chittoor district, farmers under the banner of YSR Congress Party laid siege to the electrical sub-station at Srikalahasti covering four mandals and also held a road blockade disrupting vehicular movement for nearly an hour on the busy Chennai road.

Rather curiously, the farmers’ demonstration coincides with the three-day ‘Varuna Yagam’ embarked upon by the power distribution arm of the State government-- AP Southern Power Distribution Company Ltd (APSPDCL) in its campus here to propitiate and seek divine intervention of the Five Holy Elements (Panchabhootas) of the cosmic system for bountiful rain.

It is the prolonged dry spell and the lack of rain that had made water levels touch rock bottom in all the hydel power plants in the State as never before and triggered an acute power crisis, said a brochure released by the APSPDCL which has taken up the ritual, however, without involving any financial burden on the government.

The second day the of the ‘yagam’ on Monday was marked by a unique ritual wherein the chief priest Chirravulu Srirama Sarma offered to the God of Rains — Lord Varuna, a specially cooked rice (Veduru Biyyam prasadam) stuffed into a sack of ‘deer skin’ after sitting on a bullock cart without bulls, even as pundits chanted verses from the scriptures.

The farmers, who gathered in large numbers in front of the Srikalahasti sub-station, lashed out at the government for not ensuring even three hours of uninterrupted power supply to their fields, dashing off their hopes saving the standing crops and starting farm operations for the kharif season.

Upbeat mood

They contrasted their present ‘gloomy fate’ to the upbeat mood that prevailed among them during the YSR regime when not only a 7-hour power supply was ensured to agriculture, but their farm loans also were waived.

Party leaders like T.Adikesavulu Reddy, B. Madhusudhan Reddy, Vasu Naidu who led the demonstrations have given a call to the farmers not to pay their domestic power bills also as a protest against the government badly letting them down.