Chandigarh: Facing drought like conditions, Haryana may seek over Rs 900 crore as package from the Centre as it expects expenditure to go up significantly on providing "costlier" power to the farm sector for saving kharif crops.
Though the agrarian state is yet to finalise details of package which may also include bonus to be demanded on paddy, Bhupinder Singh Hooda government is spending "heavily" on purchasing power to complete the sowing as state faces about 70 per cent deficient rain this year.
"We are still working out the detail...But we feel the extra expenditure on providing power to farm sector may exceed Rs 900 crore," a senior official of Haryana Agriculture department told PTI here.
Notably, Punjab has already sought interim relief package of Rs 800 crore from the Centre in the wake of poor rain.
Haryana at present is purchasing power at a cost of Rs 12.22 per unit, pegging the daily purchase at Rs 11-12 crore.
"If we calculate the power at present cost for supplying power during August, September and till second week of October, the power bill will reach Rs 900 crore," he said adding that a sum of Rs 350 crore had already been spent on buying power.
The main concern of the Haryana government is to give power to paddy growers so as to protect particularly basmati varieties of crop from vagaries of weather.
"We want that paddy especially basmati should survive at any cost," he said.
Haryana is a major producer of basmati rice in the country.
In Haryana, there are 5.25 lakh tubewells having big capacity of water pumps which consume more power.
"Unlike Punjab, the power consumption by a paddy grower in Haryana is more as water is available at a very deep level and farmers have to install 15-20 HP capacity motors to extract water which causes high consumption of energy," he said.
Haryana is already facing severe power shortage with gap between demand and supply remaining 250 lakh units per day.
Against a target of 12 lakh hectares, area under paddy crop has touched 9.87 lakh hectares so far which is lower than 11.15 lakh hectares brought under crop in corresponding period of last year.
Haryana has already sought 1,000 MW each for July and August, 500 MW each for September and October as additional supply of power for kharif crops.
Out of targeted area of 30.75 lakh hectares under kharif crops, sowing at over 70 per cent area is already complete.