VIJAYAWADA: Though one lakh groundwater-dependent farmers of the Krishna district are hit by frequent and unscheduled power cuts, which result in crop losses, only 100 odd of them have so far opted for alternative source of energy in the form of solar-powered agriculture pumpsets.
According to official sources, of the 16 lakh farmers in the district, around one lakh are dependent on groundwater for agricultural purposes and use electricity-run pumpsets. However, only a little more than 100 farmers have switched to solar pumpsets to draw water from their borewells. The solar pumpsets are being distributed from the middle of January this year. This rather poor response from the farmers is despite the fact that the central and state governments are providing a subsidy of ` 4.35 lakh towards each 5hp solar pumpset, which costs ` 4.9 lakh, requiring the farmers to pay just `55,000. In the case of a 3hp pumpset, each costing `3.20 lakh, the farmers need to shell down only `40,000.
“Our aim is to boost food production besides cutting down on power consumption and reducing dependency on electricity. The government has already planned to distribute 6,800 solar pumpsets in all 13 districts in the first phase, against a target of installing 50,000 solar pumpsets across the State in the next five years. In Krishna district, the government has set a target of 400 by the end of March, whereas we have already completed the installation of more than 100 solar pumpsets,” explained APSPDCL Superintendenting Engineer P Mohan Krishna.
According to the rules, if a farmer has a borewell in his farm and the groundwater is available at a less-than-200- ft depth, he can install a solar pumpset. A team of officials of the New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NREDCAP) will inspect the site, after the interested farmer has enrolled at nearby DISCOM of NREDCAP office.
“As both the governments are providing a subsidy of 89 per cent, the farmers are showing interest to install the solar pumpsets,” said NREDCAP Krishna district manager K Srinivasa Rao.