Punjab pre-poll bonanza: ‘Beneficiary’ farmers left in lurch, await tubewells
A large number of farmers issued tubewell connections by the SAD-BJP government as a pre-poll bonanza are awaiting release by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL). The power corporation says it would release connections only after the model code of conduct gets over on March 14.punjab Updated: Feb 27, 2017 22:41 IST
A large number of farmers issued tubewell connections by the SAD-BJP government as a pre-poll bonanza are awaiting release by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL). The power corporation says it would release connections only after the model code of conduct gets over on March 14.
About 25,000 demand notices for tubewells were issued by PSPCL under the ‘chairman quota’ in the run-up to the state assembly polls (on February 4) between September and December, but the release of about 10,000 tubewells was held up due to imposition of the model code on January 4.
Following a complaint to the Election Commission (EC), the PSPCL had given an undertaking that it would not go ahead with the release of tubewell connections.
“No new work during the poll code. It’s very clear, so (agricultural) tubewells would also be installed after the poll code gets over on March 14,” chief electoral officer Punjab VK Singh told HT.
“I have made so much effort to get a tubewell connection, but beyond getting a demand notice from the power corporation, the sub-divisional staff doesn’t entertain my queries. I don’t know whether I would ever get a tubewell,” said Puran Singh, a farmer from Ropar.
Facing anti-incumbency after ten years of rule for two consecutive terms, the SAD-BJP combine rolled out the tubewell bonanza to woo the state’s peasantry, its major vote bank.
The demand notices were issued to the farmers for the connections on ‘as is where’ basis on simple applications received from them, with the recommendations of halqa in-charges of the SAD-BJP alliance, and the only condition was that a farmer seeking a connection should own up to 2-acre agricultural land for one category and 2 to 5 acres holding for another category.
The demand notices have a validity of 90 days and as per reports gathered from PSPCL, most of such notices issued during October and November were no longer valid and will have to be re-issued.
“Once we are out of the poll code, we would re-issue the demand notices again which have expired and also issue all the pending connections under the special scheme,” said PSPCL chairman-cum-managing director KD Chaudhari while talking to HT.
Sources say the release of connections would depend on the new dispensation taking over after the poll results on March 11.
The release of 25,000 connections would add to the existing over 13.5 lakh agricultural tubewells.
The release of agricultural tubewell connection involves a lengthy process.
After an application is received from a farmer, a demand notice is issued. The farmer then deposits the required charges with the PSPCL and submits a test report from the chief electrical inspector ensuring that pumpset, wiring and store room has been built.
PSPCL then issues the installation orders and the entire machinery is put into working order with a power meter installed over it. With a final service order connection (SOC) issued by the PSPCL, the tubewell is put into a working order. Including all expenses, the cost of instaling a tubewell is Rs 1 lakh.