Though the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) claims to have enough electricity at its disposal it has not only lifted compulsory weekly offs imposed on the industry but also reportedly providing eight hours of electricity to farmers the situation at the ground level is very different.
In cities like Ludhiana,Amritsar, Bathinda,Mansa and Patiala,farmers are reportedly receiving less than six hours of electricity. When they staged protests,they found that the respective grids were not in a position to transmit power. Moreover,though PSPCL had collected more than Rs 100 crore through voluntary disclosure of tubewell load last year,it had failed to upgrade the grids to handle that extra load.
In case of a fault,there is no electricity for seven to eight hours, said Darshan Singh Koohli,general secretary of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrhaan). He added: We had gheraoed the executive engineer of Mandi Ahmedgarh a few days ago. He said that soon power supply will improve,but it was a false promise. Till the grids are not upgraded,claims of farmers getting more than eight hours of power will continue to be false.
Sukhdev Singh Khokri Kalan,president of the union,said: In the name of voluntary disclosure,PSPCL takes Rs 4700 per horse power. While rates are so exorbitant,services are not up to the mark.
When contacted,PSPCL Director (Distribution) K L Sharma admitted that the grids were weak. He,however,added: From August 7,we are supplying more than eight hours power to agricultural producers. Only in select pockets,they may receive six hours of power as the grids are weak.
The Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited has to upgrade the grids. Already,PSPCL has sent it details of 40 such grids in the state. These will be upgraded post paddy season, said Sharma.