The powerless, dim lights that flicker from time-to-time due to low voltage in rural Bengal after sunset may soon be history. Stressing on the urgency to bifurcate the needs as those for domestic and agricultural purposes, the state government on Friday has decided to bifurcate the power supply system for the same.
The state government will give power to the agriculture sector across the state through a dedicated line to ensure uninterrupted supply at a steady voltage. Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, the state power minister, said: "We have bifurcated the power supply system for domestic use and agricultural purposes. There is a huge consumption of power in every season to run pumps for draining water and to supply it for the crops. Thus, the decision was taken to set up a separate dedicated line to supply power for agriculture only."
For decades, voltage drop was a major problem in districts because the same line was used to supply power to households in rural areas and the agricultural sector as well. As a result, fluctuation in voltage was unavoidable. Both farmers and residents were hard hit. On one hand, students in houses couldn't study after sunset due to the dim light while on the other hand; pumps in agricultural fields got damaged with voltage drop.
Thus, the state power department has set up the necessary infrastructure for a dedicated supply for agriculture. Additional transformers have been set up and a new power distribution system has also been brought in place.
The demand for power in the agriculture sector will go up at this time of the year as paddy cultivation needs huge quantities of water supply. The demand for water goes up in boro season especially.
Chattopadhyay said: "To encourage farmers to use power during "non-peak" hours to run pumps for draining water, the state power department has decided to slash the tariff. A farmer has to pay one-fourth of the cost of a unit of power if it is used in "non-peak" hours which is after 9 pm. They can run the pump at night to store water and the same can be used the next day."
More than 20 lakh farmers will get benefitted with the step taken up by the Mamata Banerjee government. It may be mentioned that a dedicated power supply is not available in all states in the country and such a step has been initiated since Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee encourages all-round improvement in the agricultural sector.