Against 10,000 target, no solar water pump installed in 2017-18
Not a single solar water pump out of the target of 10,000, was installed in Rajasthan in 2017-18 due to a glitch in the tender floated previously that forced the state horticulture department to re-issue it tender, officials said on Fridayjaipur Updated: Apr 27, 2018 21:49 IST
Not a single solar water pump out of the target of 10,000, was installed in Rajasthan in 2017-18 due to a glitch in the tender floated previously that forced the state horticulture department to re-issue it tender, officials said on Friday.
The state government now aims to provide 10,000 solar-powered water pumps in 2018-19, they said.
Solar-powered water pumps are increasingly becoming popular among farmers in the remote corners of Rajasthan, where electricity supply is erratic. The state government has installed 28,493 solar power pumps in Rajasthan until 2016-17, some of them said.
“We have issued fresh tenders for the solar water pumping programme in February through an e-tender system, and the contract will be awarded soon,” a horticulture department official, who did not wished to be named, said.
State agriculture minister Prabhulal Saini said efforts will be made to meet the target of providing solar-powered water pumps in the current financial year.
Solar-powered pumps benefit both the farmers and the government. While the farmers will no longer have to depend on the erratic power supply, the discoms--power distribution companies—too can breathe easy as cases of power theft and non-payment of bills will automatically go down.
Solar-powered water pumps come with a capacity of 1 to 5 hp and cost between ₹1,00,000 and ₹5,00,000, including installing and maintaining for the first five years.
Farmers get a subsidy of 60% from the government, out of which 30% comes from the Centre and the rest is borne by the state government.
The popularity of the solar-powered pumps shows that the government move to reduce subsidy from 66% to 60% failed to make a cut with villagers.
Solar-powered pump is cost effective too. A 3hp (horsepower) diesel pump consumes 2.5 litre of diesel in an hour and farmers run it for more than eight hours.
Officials said farmers are also getting better prices for their produce. Earlier, they had to promise their harvest upfront to pay for the fuel, sometimes even agreeing to lower prices for their crops.
One negative aspect, however, is the tendency of farmers to waste water as the cost of pumping water is free. Officials said the government is promoting drip irrigation to curb wastage of water.