The power-starved Karnataka is mulling the possibility of reducing subsidised power to farmers and meter the power supplied to irrigation pump sets (IPs). This move will not only help improve the revenues for the electricity supply companies but also prevent any misuse of power by installing illegal IP sets, said D K Shivakumar, minister for energy, government of Karnataka.
He said, during his inspection in one of the villages in Hosadurga recently, the department of energy officials had detected 15,000 illegal pumpsets and power theft. Such kinds of power pilferage could be prevented if the power supplied to farmers is measured and metered.
"We are supplying about 39 per cent of the electricity generated in the state to the agriculture sector free of cost. The total subsidy bill runs into more than Rs 7,000 crore. We are ready to supply 3-phase electricity to farmers provided they pay for it," Shivakumar said.
Speaking at the 37th annual general meeting of the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) at the weekend, he said, the government was working on a scheme under which farmers will be encouraged to pay for the electricity they use. For example, he said farmers in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Punjab are paying for the quality power they draw for irrigation purposes.
Stating that the government was working towards achieving self-sufficiency in power generation in the next three to four years, Shivakumar, said the recent Karnataka Solar Policy 2014-21 aims to generate a minimum of 2,000-Mw by 2021 in a phased manner by creating favourable industrial atmosphere.
He said, even farmers have come forward to part with their land for setting up solar power plants.
As of April 2014, the total installed capacity in the state has touched 14,301-Mw, which is not enough to meet the requirements of over 20 million consumers of various categories.
Energy deficit in the state has increased from 4 per cent in 2005-06 to 11 per cent in 2011-12. "We need to concentrate on reducing the growing dependence on private generating companies who sometimes take the government to ransom," he said.
The new Solar Policy, he said, has been revised to encourage a public-private participation in the energy sector, promote solar rooftop generation and technologies. The policy also encourages house owners in the cities to install solar power units on their rooftops which can make them self sufficient in power requirement. The government will also encourage solar powered IP sets being installed at all places.
"We have floated tenders to purchase solar power IP sets to be distributed free of cost to deserving farmers including SC/ST and weaker sections," Shivakumar added.
He also expressed confidence that the state will soon be in a position to export power to neighbouring power-starved states.
Source- Business Standard