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Gujarat farmers furious over erratic power supply

Farmers in Gujarat are furious at the erratic power cuts for the last three weeks as utilities have been curbing the supply for agriculture.

In several districts of North Gujarat and Saurashtra regions, farmers have taken out protest marches. Legislators and farmers unions have written to the authorities as erratic and reduced supply have affected irrigation in the peak season.

So far, several legislators of the Opposition party and even the Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), a farmers’ wing of the RSS, have written to the authorities demanding supply be restored for farm sector.

The Government has admitted that the power plants are facing shortage of coal and therefore the supply has been curtailed but the energy companies appeared non-committal on purchasing power from private players to meet the growing demand from farmers.

“For the last 20 days, we have been getting power only for a few hours. We want uninterrupted supply for at least 8-9 hours to irrigate fields,” said Laljibhai Chaudhary, a farmer from Banaskantha district.

He said members of the BKS have even submitted a memorandum to the local authorities seeking regular supply till November end.

On Saturday, Energy Minister Kanubhai Desai admitted shortage of coal and said the situation will improve in the next two weeks.

“There is a scarcity of coal across the globe because mines are facing flooding due to excessive rain. It is also happening because of climate change. As a result, supply has been hampered. But this is a temporary issue,” he told reporters in Vapi town when asked about the frequent power cuts.

However, local representatives and even legislators feel that the shortage would affect farmers very badly if not addressed on an urgent basis.

On Monday, Agriculture Minister Raghavji Patel also reportedly sought intervention from the top to ease the crisis.

Officials in the GUVNL have said power demand from farmers has gone up suddenly and has resulted in cuts in a few pockets.

“Our cotton crop is getting destroyed as there is no power. We have water but no power to pump it to irrigate,” said Jivan Gajera, a farmer from Amreli district.

So far, farmers have held protests in Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Amreli and other districts.

“There is a massive shortage and it appears that the Government is not serious to help the farmers,” said Congress leader Arjun Modhvadia, who has demanded that the State should purchase power.


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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 9:32:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gujarat-farmers-furious-over-erratic-power-supply/article37170406.ece

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