Flaying the tall claims of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal of making Punjab a power-surplus state, Punjab Congress on Wednesday claimed that due to huge power cuts, farmers in the state were being forced to use generators for sowing wheat and potato crops.
Congress spokesperson Sukhpal Singh Khaira said, "It appears junior Badal has become habitual of making false claims that do not match the ground reality at all. He has been repeatedly harping upon making Punjab a power surplus state since 2007, when his party included this point in the manifesto. Despite passage of more than seven years now, adequate power still remains a distant dream."
He said, "The biggest sufferers of Sukhbir Badal's lofty assurances are farmers, particularly potato growers of the Doaba region. As we are aware, crops of potatoes, wheat and winter vegetables need a lot of water, thus they need a minimum of at least 8-hour power supply for their sustenance. Unfortunately, the power supply to the agriculture sector is no more than 3-4 hours a day and that too intermittent."
"The farmers are largely dependent upon generators to irrigate their fields, which increases input costs manifold, as diesel is very costly. On an average, the use of diesel for irrigation purposes adds up an additional burden of `5,000 per acre," he said.
Khaira also rued the insensitive attitude of PSPCL authorities towards the problems of farmers. "The network of transformers and the wires is in a pathetic state and in case of any breakdown, specially of?
transformers, the farmers are made to pay for its repairs, transportation and reinstallation, which is duty of the government."
"It is ironical that the SAD, which claims itself to be the sole champion of farmers, has left them in the lurch.
"Congress urges the deputy CM to wake up from his deep slumber of arrogance, power drunkenness and callousness to cater to adequate power demand of farmers," he said.