The agriculture sector in the state is being given six-hour power supply against the promised 8-hour of uninterrupted supply."On Friday night, my village received only four-and-a-half hour of power supply. We also had two power cuts that lasted more hours than the power supply," said Chamkaur Singh, a farmer from Deviwala village.
"The state government's claims are hollow. Power supply to agriculture is only for 5-6 hours against the 8 hours as claimed by the government," Chamkaur adds.
So acute is the problem that farmers are irrigating the paddy crop by running tractor-driven generators. At places, where there is enough ground water is available and diesel engines can pump out water, engines are at work.
"Running tractor driven generators is expensive. They are beyond the reach of most farmers. I have spent Rs. 90,000 on generator and Rs. 9,000 on cable. On Saturday, the generator had to be kept running for 13 hours and it cost me Rs. 2,500 as 50 litres of disel were consumed."
"The duration is low, but the quality of power also a problem. Cost is a major factor in the absence of power. Those who cannot afford generators simply have to pray for rain," said Chanan singh Dhillon, a farmer from Wanderjatana village, 12 km from Kotkapura.
"The supply is only for five hours and is insufficient. The situation is even worse than last year's," claims Naib Singh from Ghanaia village ,40 km from Faridkot town.
"The supply network is connected by the old technology of using low-tension (LT) wires, which reach power motors in a zigzag manner. There are joint transformers at most supply lines.
Sometimes, people steal power by running more tubewell connections than the permitted load, directly as they cannot be held responsible for any damage to the transformer. If all tubewell connections are linked to high tension (HTL) lines and each power motor has single transformer, it will check tpower theft and carry full required voltage," said Chamkaur.
He claimed that while new tubewell connections were run on HTL with single transformers, the old system was yet to be upgraded.
"LT lines cover long distances at some places and the situation has now changed. For example, the Low tension wires cover about 700 m over 10 poles to my tubewell. However, under the new technology, it can be drawn on just three poles, in about 250 metre. This will lead to huge savings in line material and efficient transmission."
Faridkot division superintendent engineer MS Brar said: "The power supply to agriculture sector in six hours throughout the state and that is being supplied."