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Web Exclusive | June 2013

Karnataka ryots ask govt for subsidised solar-IP sets

Farmers in Karnataka have urged the State government to grant 75 per cent subsidy on solar-powered pumpsets for their agruculture needs. Hit by frequent and unscheduled power cuts, farmers in the state are showing interest in alternative sources of energy to power their irrigation pumpsets (IP sets).

To promote green energy among growers, a group of farmers, at a pre-budget meeting in Bangalore on June 24, urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to announce 75 per cent subsidy on solar-powered pumpsets. The State Budget is scheduled to be presented in next July. Despite solar power's limitations, farmers believe solar-powered IP sets can be used for at least four to five hours a day to draw groundwater without any interruptions and thus reduce their dependency on electricity.

Farmers in some parts of the State have installed solar-powered pumps. Many States, including Tamil Nadu, offer subsidy on solar-powered pumpsets. President of the Karnataka State Sugarcane Growers’ Association Kurubur Shanthakumar, who attended the meeting, told that 22 lakh irrigation pumpsets were being used by farmers in the State and each farmer spends nearly Rs 2 lakh on installing a pump set.

Also, the cost incurred on laying electricity lines for the IP sets, including installation of transformers and other works, was huge, he said. However, one-time cost incurred on installing a solar-powered pump set was around Rs 2.5 lakh. Besides saving electricity, the government could also save on the cost incurred on operations, he said.

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