Decision will ensure no financial burden is passed to farmers

In a Diwali gift to about 40,000 farmers in the shape of new agricultural power connections, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has sanctioned an additional Rs.100 crore for issuing demand notes to agriculturists registered in the waiting list for October-December 2008. The decision will ensure that no financial burden is passed on to farmers.

Mr. Gehlot reviewed the demand and supply situation in the power sector here over the weekend. He said the State government would enhance the subsidy paid for agricultural connections from 30 per cent to 50 per cent, taking the amount up to a total of Rs. 250 crore while ensuring that farmers did not have to pay additional money.

Farmers will be required to pay only Rs.2,500 per horsepower for new connections, while the rest of the financial burden will be borne by the public sector power companies. Mr. Gehlot instructed the power distribution companies to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to farmers for six hours a day during the rabi crop season.

The Chief Minister said the elected representatives would give regular feedback to power companies to make sure that load-shedding, tripping and faults in feeder and transformers did not create difficulties for those engaged in sowing of crops and irrigating agricultural fields. Faulty transformers in villages would be replaced within 72 hours, he added.

Apart from clearing the waiting list for October to December 2008, the pending applications for July to September in that year would also be disposed of by issuing demand notes to applicants within the next 15 days. Mr. Gehlot said the work assigned to power companies under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme would also be completed by next month-end.

The review meeting was informed that electricity was being supplied to the rural areas for six hours a day in four blocks. “There is no power cut in the blocks applicable to agricultural consumers,” said the representatives of power discoms. The power situation in the State has improved following the supply of 261 MW of electricity from the Centre’s unallocated quota. Besides, the 110 MW unit at Ramgarh will start production by January next year and the 250 MW unit at Chhabra by March next year.

Among others, Energy Minister Jitendra Singh, Chief Secretary C.K. Mathew, Energy Secretary Naresh Pal Gangwar and officers of power discoms attended the meeting.