Agitated over erratic power supply and mounting electricity bills, farmers across Punjab will hold protests on 23-06-2010. To boycott the government's productivity bonus policy, as recommended by the Sukhbir-Kalia committee, they also plan to burn electricity bills outside the offices of executive engineers.
Seventeen farmer organizations have joined forces under the banner of Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) to launch an agitation against the state government's "faulty" policies and pathetic infrastructure. The farming community has been demanding 24-hour power supply in residential areas and at least 18 hours of uninterrupted supply for field operations. Farmer leader Sukhdev Singh Kokri said: "With the onset of paddy season, farmers are being compelled to burn diesel since the government has failed to supply electricity for more than six hours per day."
At the same time, Municipal Corporation has also been issued instructions not to switch on street lights till it is dark and switch off lights early in the morning. Interestingly, instructions also read that on full moon days, street lights may not be switched on.
At the moment, street lights are being switched on around 6.30 pm and being switched off between 6 am and 6.30 am in most areas of Ludhiana. This wastes electricity for at least three hours every day. So, the MC is thinking of changing the timings. M P S Kalra, executive engineer lights with the MC, said, "We are changing the timings. Lights will be switched off between 5 am and 5.30 am and in the evening lights can be switched on after 8 pm."
Karla, however, said moonlight was not sufficient in all the areas and hence a few roads can remain without streetlights on full moon nights, the rest needed lights. Taking all the above measures, Powercom aims to save about 300 MW of power.
The authorities, meanwhile, said if measures are not taken, they may even change the office and school timings and even markets close earlier.
Meanwhile, power cuts are staggered throughout the day which are causing more problem. Residents have suggested that a fixed power cut schedule should be given to them.
Powercom chief managing director K D Chaudhary, however, maintained that outages were minimum in this paddy season and if consumers cooperate they could be reduced even further.