The state power department will provide technical assistance to Water Resource Investigation and Development department to utilise solar power to supply irrigation water to the farmlands.
There is a government plan to use solar power in the irrigation sector in a large scale that would immensely assist farmers to reduce the cost of the electricity bill and also develop an alternative source of power for various irrigational purposes.
It was learnt that high-grid engines will be used to produce solar power for irrigating fields in place of tube wells that have been used by farmers for ages. In some places, the solar energy is being used for irrigation in a small-scale like in the 28 enclaves of Cooch Behar. But it will be relaunched as a pilot project in districts like North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Nadia, East Midnapore and West Midnapore. The power department will provide technical support on setting up solar plants as well.
The project will be introduced throughout the state after conducting a thorough report on its feasibility. The farmers have to pay a minimum amount for availing solar power for supplying water to their farmlands. There is also a plan to provide solar electricity in their homes. The farmers now use electric pumps for various irrigation purposes which will soon be replaced by solar power if everything goes according to plan. If the project is done in a large scale, it would help farmers to cut down on cost of electricity bills.
Senior officials of the irrigation department has already held meetings with their counterparts in the power department and entered into an agreement in this regard. The power department will provide technical support to the irrigation department. A senior official said it would cost around Rs 9 lakh to install each unit having a capacity to channelise water across 80 to 100 bighas of land.
Once the cost of the irrigation comes down, it will inspire farmers to sow a variety of crops. It was learnt that the project has already earned much praise from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who instructed senior officials of both the irrigation and power department to develop the project so that farmers throughout the state can utilise solar power for irrigational purposes. The irrigation department will install solar plants in assistance with the state power department. High-grid engines will be used to produce solar power for irrigation of fields.
It may be mentioned that state government has laid great stress on the use of solar energy in various sectors. State power department has been installing solar plants on roof tops of various government buildings under 'Aloshree' projected initiated by the Mamata Banerjee-government.