Gujarat Farmers demand 24-hr electricity for next few days

Farmers of the state need electricity round-the-clock for the next 15 days to draw water for their crops.

Ahemdabad: Farmers of the state need electricity round-the-clock for the next 15 days to draw water for their crops. Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) has already applied for 24 hours’ electricity to the state government for the next 15 to 20 days to get maximum yield from their sowing. The government, however, said it would be difficult to supply 24 hours’ power to the farmers.

Every year after the sowing, when the monsoon is officially over, the farmers need ample water for the next few days to water the crop in order to get the maximum yield.

BKS president Magan Patel said that if the crop does not get water regularly once the monsoon is over, it could result in reduced production. “According to the irrigation pattern, monsoon for us ended on August 16, 2013. Now, whatever the rainfall, it is not going to help us. We need a constant flow of water for few days and electricity is needed for this,” he said.

Patel further stated that delay in the constant flow of electricity would decrease the chances of 100% production. “We have not used any electricity for the last two-and-a-half months due to the good monsoon in the state and the surplus electricity should be given to us for the next few days,” he said.

The farmers in central Gujarat should get water in 15 days at the end of the monsoon while those in Saurashtra should get water within a week of the monsoon. “Whatever limited electricity we are getting, we are using it to water the crop. But we need more electricity,” another farmer leader Prafful Senjalia said.

The government, however, is yet to give the nod. “Power consumption of the agriculture sector is already very high. The constraints in transmission make it difficult to supply power for additional hours to farmers,” said energy minister Saurabh Patel.

The demand for additional power is primarily being raised by farmers in Saurashtra. A host of MLAs from the region, including many belonging to the ruling BJP, have been pressing the government to increase the hours of supply. However, the government has told them bluntly that it would not be possible to respond to their demand.

According to officials, the number of agricultural power connections went up by 1.75 lakh in the last year.


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