The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) has demanded that the state government treat all agriculture electricity consumers equally in terms of charges and not differentiate on the basis of ad hoc connections and metered connections. If the government does not decide before June 15, the BKS will launch an awareness programme followed by a protest in July.
BKS state general secretary Ramesh Patel said, “When Minimum Support Price is same for all farmers, how can it (the government) charge different rates from farmers for electricity?”
A farmer with one horsepower of ad hoc connection (which is not metered) pays Rs 665 per annum, that is Rs 66,500 for 100 horsepower consumption in a year. Against this, farmers having agriculture electricity connection and meters installed, for the first five years, pay 80 paise per unit plus Rs 20. With such charges, a farmer pays Rs, 1,20,000 annually for consuming 100 horsepower of electricity. It is almost double the charges of a non-metered connection.
“This causes unhealthy competition among farmers. Those with power connection are not necessarily rich farmers; there are small farmers who share bills of metered electricity connection in groups, such farmers are burdened and their production costs shoot up,” claims Patel.
“BKS has given an ultimatum to the state government that it must fix a common rate for all agriculture electricity consumers by June 15, and if it does not, then they will launch an awareness programme at the taluka level and submit a memorandum. If the state still does not decide on tariff, the BKS will launch a protest at district headquarters across the state,” said a BKS office bearer.
According to him, there are 20 lakh agriculture electricity connections in the state, out of which, 4.5 lakh consumers have meters installed. These farmers are suffering the most.