DIFFUL SOLAR PUMP---Farmers fume as govt cuts subsidy on solar pumps
Government's efforts to encouragefarmers to switch over to alternate forms of energy has hit a roadblock as the cost of the solar water pumps has increased from Rs 23,000 to Rs 51,000. Despite thehigh demand forsolar power pumps, government has reduced the subsidy on them. The scheme was launched two years ago.
The new prices, announced two days ago, came as jolt to farmers, especially the marginal ones, who had applied for it online.
Last year, more than 2.33 lakh farmers had registered online for the solar pumps. In Bijnor alone 1,500 are still waiting their turn to procure it. However, after the hike in prices, farmers here say these pumps are now beyond their reach and they will use conventional power to run their pumps.
Earlier, the cost of a 2 horsepower solar pump was Rs 23,050 after subsidy as against Rs 51,840 this year. Similarly, the cost of a 3 horsepower solar pump has increased from Rs 64,070 to 77,700.
According to officials, farmers had opted to switch to solar power in view of frequent powercuts in the state. Bijnor has 3.35 lakh hectare of agriculture land and of this, over 40% remains unirrigated. Farmers in these parts have to depend on rainfall and pumps to draw water for irrigation.