Over 1 lakh farmers in Pune district, who have power connections for agriculture pumps, have got some relief as the MSDECL, the state power company, has decided not to sever connections over bills that were unpaid till September 20 last year.
While there are 42 lakh agri pump farmers in Maharashtra, Pune district has nearly 1.25 lakh such farmers, MSEDCL officials said.
In its order, the power company said such farmers, who have unpaid bills till September 20, 2020, can pay off the amount in the next three years. MSEDCL officials said 42 lakh agri pump farmers collectively owe Rs 45,000 crore to the power company.
“This decision pertains to only farmers with agri pumps… those who lift water with the help of a motor from wells and other sources of water,” said a MSEDCL spokesperson.
However, the power company has not given any relief in the current bill. “If the bills from October last year are not paid, notices will be sent to the farmers concerned and their connections will be severed for non-payment of the bill,” said the spokesperson.
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MSEDCL officials said the Maharashtra government provides power for agriculture pumps of farmers at a rate of Rs 85 paise per unit and gives a subsidy of Rs 8,000 crore annually for it.
State Agriculture department officials said the move will primarily benefit farmers from Western Maharashtra which has “large acres of irrigated land”.
“However, in other parts of the state, farmers will not benefit much as not many have agriculture pumps. Eighty per cent of the farm land in Maharashtra is non-irrigated and only 20 per cent is irrigated,” said a senior agriculture officer.