According to reports, about 3,500 farmers from the newly formed States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will soon get solar pump sets for agriculture. The Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) water pumping systems for irrigation were granted by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy about six months ago to a few select States including Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar among others.
Subsequently, the pump sets, 3,500 in number, have been distributed between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the ratio of 58:42, on the basis of population.
The 5HP pump sets would cost about Rs. 5 lakh each, on which a 30 per cent subsidy will be granted by the Central government. A minimum of 15 per cent of the cost should be borne by the respective State governments as per norms. However, the idea is to see that the beneficiary does not bear more than 15 to 20 per cent of the total cost, officials, seeking anonymity, informed.
“We have received instructions from the Central government on Monday to constitute State-level committees to work out the modalities for identifying the beneficiaries, and to determine the cost structure,” Vice-Chairman & Managing Director of the New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NREDCAP), M. Kamalakar Babu, informed.
Accordingly, committees will be formed at the State level, to be headed by Principal Secretary, Energy, and with Principal Secretaries respectively of Agriculture, Horticulture and Rural Development departments as members. VC&MD of NREDCAP will act as the Convener, he informed.
Solar pump sets will have a life of 20 years, during which, the amount spent can be recovered by way of not having to pay power bills, officials say. According to a recent advisory issued by the APERC, there are 13.05 lakh agricultural pump sets in Andhra Pradesh, and 18.14 lakh in Telangana. Both governments are offering free power to farmers of smaller landholdings.