Punjab: Power cuts to prevent fires hit maize, sunflower farmers

Due to erratic or no power, farmers are unable to irrigate their standing spring-summer season crops.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar | Published: April 16, 2017 11:03:08 am
punjab farmers, power cuts, punjab state power corporation, pspcl, maize farmers punjab, sunflower farming punjab, sarso farmers punjab, electricity in farms punjab, agriculture, punjab news, indian express Due to erratic or no power, farmers are unable to irrigate their standing spring-summer season crops. (Representational image)

The “callous” attitude of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) officials has left the farmers helpless in this part of the state where instead of repairing faulty power lines resulting in frequent fire incidents in the “ready to harvest” wheat fields, officials have either disconnected the power or resorted to frequent power cuts for “repair”. Due to erratic or no power, farmers are unable to irrigate their standing spring-summer season crops like maize, sunflowers, vegetables since tubewells cannot be run without power supply.

Farmers say while they must be educated to keep the harvested crop at a safe distance from electricity transformers so that sparks do not fall on the ripened crop, faulty power lines also must be replaced. “For nine days, there has been no power supply to my tubewell despite several complaints at the PSPCL office. No one is ready to repair the faulty transformer. Linemen ask me to take the responsibility of the standing wheat crop,” said farmer Jagmeet Singh from Haripur village near Adampur, whose summer maize crop has totally got burnt under the sun in the absence of irrigation.
“If we irrigate the crop by running our tubewells through generator sets, it costs us more than crop price,” he said.

Farmer Jugraj Singh from village Madar, who is cultivating summer maize on 100 acres, said they were suffering because of erratic power supply. Another farmer, Pritapl Singh from village Dhilwan, who has grown maize on 100 acres, says it was not possible for him to irrigate it with his tubewell running on the generators. “I have grown sunflower, which needs irrigation due to high temperature these days. But there is no proper power supply to run tubewells,” said another farmer from Chokan village, wondering how crop diversification can take place when there is no support for even running tubewells during wheat harvesting season.

An executive engineer (power), who did not wish to be quoted, said there were no instructions for power cuts or disconnecting power to transformers, but the practice was on in certain areas to save the wheat from fire incidents. He conceded that sparking was taking place due to old lines and delayed services of the lines.

“Though announcements are being made from gurudwaras to educate farmers to clear ther crop from near the transformers and heavy tension wires, farmers too are hardly paying heed,” said another PSPCL officer, who conceded that lack of power supply has hit maize and sunflower crops badly. Superintendent Engineer Parwinder Singh could not be contacted for his comment.

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