Despite having deposited service connection charges with Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), thousands of farmers are still waiting for power connections for tubewells as the department is unable to cope with the number of applications that are pouring in.
As per PSPCL officials, over 20, 000 power connections have been made functional in PSPCL’s west zone but the department is finding it difficult to keep pace with the number of farmers depositing the charges so thousands of farmers will have to wait for their connections.
PSPCL’s west zone chief engineer (distribution) MS Brar said they are providing necessary materials to about 800 applicants on a daily basis depending upon the availability of material.
“We will be providing farmers 53 items which include pole, transformer and cable. We are working to provide farmers the material as soon as possible but there are limitations in doing so, so there is pendency. We are hopeful that all the new connections will be made available by June 30,” he said.
Over 18,000 farmers in PSPCL’s west zone are waiting for their power connections to go functional.
The west zone of PSPCL comprises of seven districts including Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar, Moga, Faridkot, Fazilka and Ferozepur.
Another official on the condition of anonymity said that at present they are focusing on clearing the applications received till April and will start providing material to others only after that.
“We are working even on holidays to clear the pendency but finding it tough,” expressed official.
As per officials about 80, 000 farmers— mainly farmers having less than 2.5 acres of land and some with land between 2.5-5 acres—in the zone were issued demand notices seeking service connection charges for installing power connections.
Out of this, about 40, 000 have already deposited the amount but over half are yet to get the connection installed.
Gurtej Singh, a farmer from Jodhpur village, said that he had deposited `72, 240 on June 9 but hasn’t received the material to be used for installing the power connection.
“The paddy transplant season is in full swing and there seems no hope of getting the power connection. What will be the use of a power connection if I don’t get it on time,” he said.
Punjab government had started the process to issue new tubewell connections before the 2014 parliament poll.
Thousands of demand notices seeking service connection charges were distributed by Bathinda MP Harismtrat Kaur Badal ahead of 2014 parliament polls.
Though, the process to issue new connections was stayed by the national green tribunal (NGT), it allowed new tubewell connections in Punjab in July 2015 with a rider asking the Punjab government to formulate a policy for release of connections in a phased manner.
After this, the department issued fresh demand notices on basis of revised prices of material.
Brar said all those who had deposited the charges before the NGT stay have been provided the connections and the pendency is of those who deposited the amount March onwards under the fresh process.