Telangana

NPDCL taking away power starters from farmers

A farmer Nandam showing his snatched away starter by the electricity authorities in Challur village of Karimnagar district on Monday.

A farmer Nandam showing his snatched away starter by the electricity authorities in Challur village of Karimnagar district on Monday.   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Farming operations suffer as power dues add up to over ₹5 crore

Officials of the Northern Power Distribution Company Limited (NPDCL) are forcibly taking away power starters from farmers alleging non-payment of bills, in spite of the State government providing 24x7 free power to the sector.

This act of snatching away of starters from the agricultural wells and borewells has become a cause concern for farmers taking up operations in the rabi season.

The State government has fixed a minimum power bill of ₹360 per annum for farmers availing free power. However, according to sources, farmers are unable to pay the minimum power bill to the electricity department and the dues have piled up to over ₹5 crore in Karimnagar district.

As part of the measures to recover the dues from farmers, the NPDCL authorities have launched a special drive to collect power starters from the agricultural wells and borewells, thereby hampering their farming activities.

“I had asked the electricity officials if I have any power dues, but to no avail. Later, they took away my starter halting my agricultural activities for the rabi season. I could not water the seeds sown in the paddy nursery and incurred a loss of over ₹2,000,” said Koyyadam Nandam of Challur village in Veenavanka mandal.

After repaying power due of ₹360, the authorities had returned the starter, but refused to reinstall. I was forced to hire another electrician by paying ₹300 for the re-installation of the starter to take up agricultural operations, he complained.

Rythu Ikya Vedika district president M. Venkat Reddy said that the electricity department had remained mum over the collection of dues from farmers for over four years and now, suddenly started collecting it and snatching away the starters without informing farmers.

“It is the duty of the electricity authorities to inform farmers well in advance about the payment of power dues. Now, the farmers are not in a position to repay the dues as the government had not paid the amount after procuring paddy produce during the kharif season,” he said.

NPDCL SE K. Madhava Rao said that they were collecting starters from farmers whose dues were pending since the last three to four years. “We will not take the starters from now onwards and we will help the farmers take up agricultural operations for rabi season. However, we will disconnect domestic connections if farmers failed to clear dues at the earliest,” he informed.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 9:04:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/npdcl-taking-away-power-starters-from-farmers/article30331653.ece

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