Taking cognizance of farmers' complaints, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has decided to form a panel to ensure that farmers get a mandatory 10-hour power supply every day.
Farmers in the state had accused the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Comp-any (MSEDC) or Mahaha-vitaran of denying them their due share of power. The newly formed committee will submit its report in a month's time.
Maharashtra Vij Grahak Sanghatana, an apex body of power consumers, had moved the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), asking it to penalise Mahavitaran for defying the regulator's three-year-old directive for prolonged supply.
MERC heard the case on Wednesday and then decided to form a committee that will include Pratap Hogade, chief of Maharashtra Vij Grahak Sanghatana, consumer representative Ashok Pendse, MSEDC's Sharad Dabhade and Abhijit Deshpande and two experts (not yet named) from MERC.
The panel will recommend an effective way of implementing the MERC order given on February 20, 2007, which states that farmers must get not less than 10 hours supply even when the power shortage is higher.
Hogade said when shortage shot up, Mahavitaran had demanded to increase power cuts for farmers. "The commission dismissed the demand. MERC said increased power cuts would impact food grain production," added Hogade.