Govt provides 3,477 agri power connections in 4 years, promises 9,570 in next few months
In the last four years of the BJP rule in Rajasthan, the electricity department provided 3,477 connections for agricultural use in Barmerjaipur Updated: Mar 24, 2018 22:11 IST
In the last four years of the BJP rule in Rajasthan, the electricity department provided 3,477 connections for agricultural use in Barmer. In just over nine months before the state goes to polls, the government wants to grant 9,570 more such connections in the district, a target that the department officials feel is impossible to achieve.
While presenting the state Budget for 2018-19 on February 12, chief minister Vasundhara Raje announced to provide 200,000 agricultural power connections to farmers. Following this, Barmer’s electricity department officials went into an overdrive and prepared a list of 9,570 beneficiary farmers. It remains to be seen what percentage of the promise made by the CM would be fulfilled.
Here’s a reality check.
Beginning February 2010, a total of 24,994 farmers in Barmer applied for agricultural power connection, according to the official records.
The electricity department released 919 agricultural connections in 2014-15. The figure went marginally up in the next financial year (2015- 2016), when 1,442 such connections were released. During 2016-17, only 36 connections were provided against pending 22,973 applications. The data further revealed that till January 2018, department had released only 1,076 connections.
Post the budget announcement, political galleries are abuzz with bets being placed over whether the state government would be able to fulfill even partially its promise.
Goparam Sirvi, chief engineer at Jodhpur discom in Barmer, says that they are serious about chief minister’s announcement but “fulfilling that would be a challenging task”. Apart from the difficult geographical conditions due to which the sped of the work is delayed, the power department is facing inadequate manpower and severe shortage of material. Sirvi said he will raise the issue before the higher officials and request them to ensure the required resources on time.
Experts, meanwhile, are considering this yet another political announcement. Sabal Singh Bhati, a farmer leader in Barmer, claimed that their requests to the government to provide agricultural connection on priority basis have always been ignored. “Considering the past record, the recent announcement seems purely political. It has been made to lure voters in the election year,” he said.
It may be mentioned that even the chief minister has said that there was no guarantee if the announcements made by her in the budget will be implemented in their entirety.
“Our next challenge is how fast we can get the budget announcements on ground,” she said speaking to reporters after presenting the budget. “There is no guarantee (that the announcements would be implemented before the election code of conduct kicks in)… Please do not compare us with the Congress. In our Suraj Sankalp, there were over 600 promises; we fulfilled almost 500 of them.”
Hemraj Choudhary, a local farmer said that he and several others have been waiting for electricity connection since 2009. He claimed to have approached the authorities several times but was always told to wait for some more time.
“I have invested on tube well and bought equipment that requires electricity to function. My investment is in vain,” he said.
Congress district vice-president YD Joshi said that BJP leaders’ claim that the recent budget was dedicated to the farmers was a big sham. “This government has failed to provide agricultural connections to the farmer. How can it claim that it is dedicated to the farmers,” he asked.