The Punjab government has sought Rs 800-crore interim relief package besides 1,000 MW of additional power from the central pool owing to the erratic monsoon.
The grant has been demanded in wake of the extra money being spent by the state government on buying power for the agricultural sector besides the additional cost of diesel borne by farmers in the absence of rains, an official spokesman said here on Sunday.
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal said the state had approached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and union power minister Sushilkumar Shinde to immediately come to the aid of Punjab farmers in this hour of crisis.
He said the 70% deficiency in rain in June and July was a cause of concern for the Punjab government as the state farmers contributed more than 50% paddy to the central pool and any crop failure could have a bearing on the nation’s food security.
Badal said Powercom, the state’s nodal power agency, was trying to procure electricity for the irrigation of paddy and other kharif crops at exorbitant rates. The state farmers were also spending heavily on diesel for tubewell irrigation to save the paddy crop.
He said Powercom had so far bought power worth Rs 6,556 crore and the farmers had to incur additional cost on diesel, so the Centre should compensate the state and its farmers by sanctioning an interim relief of Rs 800 crore. An additional 1,000-MW power for the state should also be sanctioned from the central pool in the prevailing situation, the deputy chief minister demanded.