According to reports, Punjab government has decided to provide Rs 1 lakh subsidy on installation of 500 solar irrigation pump sets in the state during 2013-14 fiscal and a special fund of Rs 5 crore has been earmarked for it.
Punjab Non-Conventional Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia said on Wednesday, the decision was aimed at promoting renewable and clean energy on one side and incentive to all those farmers opting for diversification, on the other.
Farmers opting for diversification would be given priority in issuance of solar irrigation pump connections, he said.
Keeping in view the alarming situation of ever falling water table in the state, it became imperative to shift the major chunk of cultivable land to alternative crops like sugarcane, cotton, maize, soybean, oilseeds, pulses, fruits and vegetables, he said.
The minister said, this new initiative would play a significant role in ensuring remunerative returns to farmers of their produce, besides saving ground water.
Presently, a solar pump costs nearly Rs 2.50 lakh and the Centre only provides a meagre subsidy of 30 per cent, he said adding, with the new provision of 40 per cent subsidy (Rs 1 lakh for each pump) by the state government, now the pumps would cost Rs 75,000.
Majithia added, Punjab had taken lead in installation of solar irrigation pumps in the state during 2000-01 to 2003-04 by installing 1,850 solar water pumps.