The state government’s decision to set up separate feeders powered by solar energy for the agriculture sector would help farmers get uninterrupted electricity throughout the day, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Saturday. The move would also bring down electricity cost for farmers, making agriculture more economical and sustainable across rural Maharashtra,
Fadnavis was conducting the bhoomipujan of a solar energy project at Ralegan Siddhi, the model village developed by social activist Anna Hazare in Parner taluka of Ahmednagar district. Hazare was present at the function. Fadnavis said the government had initially decided to provide solar-powered agriculture pumps to farmers but noting limitations in this and realising it would not serve the larger purpose, it was decided to provide feeder connection to agriculture pumps through solar panels to ensure at least 12 hours of continuous electric supply during daytime.
Highlighting cost effectiveness of solar energy, he said: “At present, the cost per unit of power works out to Rs 6.50. Solar energy would bring the cost down to Rs 3.25 per unit. The government will provide solar energy at a subsidised rate of Rs 1.20 per unit to farmers.”
Promoting solar power is also aimed at unburdening the stress on coal-driven thermal energy. In case of thermal power, the subsidies for the agriculture sector is also higher at Rs 8,000 crore. The Niti Aayog has appreciated the Maharashtra solar power model and is likely to ask other states to replicate it to help the agriculture sector, said an official.
Launching the project, the CM said it is a proud moment for Ralegan Siddhi, the home of Hazare. The chief minister lauded the social reforms undertaken by Hazare in Ralegan Siddhi to make it a model village. He also referred to his campaign against liquor.
“In rural areas, families are often devastated because of liquor. Anna (Hazare), through his relentless work, united the villagers and took up social
projects in areas like agriculture, irrigation and anti-liquor campaign.”