At a time when electricity consumers in Gujarat are paying about Rs 5 for every unit of electricity, farmers in the state are getting the same at a subsidised rate of just 56 paise. This is perhaps the one reason why the Gujarat Government is going slow on providing electricity connections to farmers.
“At the time when common man in Gujarat is paying between Rs 4-5 per unit of power, farmers in the state are paying 56 paise,” said D J Pandian, principal secretary, energy and petrochemicals, Government of Gujarat while addressing a gathering at a seminar on Solar Power at Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA).
Hinting at the huge subsides the state government has to provide in supplying power to farmers in the state, Pandian also talked about how there were about 4 lakh pending application for power connections of farmers in Gujarat.
“Agriculturalists are unhappy about these pending power connections. However, to give power connection to one farmer, we need to spend on an average Rs 1.25 lakh. This includes the cost for wires, poles, etc. So the government is going a little slow in providing new connections,” Pandian said addressing the gathering.
In the 2012-13 fiscal, only 95,844 connections were given, which was the highest number of connections provided in a single fiscal since 2008-09. The state government figures also show that the power allocated to agricultural consumers have been steadily declining in Gujarat. In a span of 10 years – from year 2002 to 2012 – the electricity consumption of farmers in the state has dropped by 11 per cent.
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Gujarat buys 300 million units of power every day. About 200 million of units are supplied by state-run Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL), while an additional 50-60 million units of power come from Torrent Power, while the remaining 50 million of units are purchased by various high tension industrial consumer through power exchanges, Pandian said, adding that 15,000 MW of state’s power generation capacity is driven by coal-based units.