The outstanding dues of electricity payment for 42 lakhs Agricultural pumps in Maharashtra has now reached to 30,000 crore rupees in the last four years from rupees 12,000 crore. During the last four years of BJP-Shiv Sena government, the outstanding dues of Agriculture pump have increased with 2.5%. Therefore the farmers in the state, who are already distressed with crop crisis, now have to face the trouble of major load shedding. The state government has announced subsidy for Agricultural pumps many times but government will have bear a major loss as it has also announced ‘not to cut’ electricity of farmers who have not paid the bills.
Energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankul has just confirmed the increasing burden of this arrears. It has been said that the outstanding has rose to 30,000 crore rupees as the BJP government did not take any action against the people who haven’t paid the dues of power supply to pumps.
Nashik, Baramati and Latur are at the top districts for non-payment of outstanding for agricultural pumps. Total outstanding of Nashik region is Rs. 4344 crores, Baramati is Rs. 4275 crore and Latur is Rs. 3491 crore. The outstanding amount of Jalgaon region is Rs. 3264 crores followed by Aurangabad district which is Rs. 2891 crores.
There are currently 42 lakh agricultural pumps in the state. Of them, 90 percent owners have not paid their outstanding dues of electricity supply. 25% of the total electricity demand of the state is used by farmers. For this, Electricity Board is giving electricity bill of Rs. 800 to 900 crore for agricultural pump owners. But Board is not even able to recover the payment near to Rs. 200 to 250 crore.
The DBT model
The MSEB provides electricity at a subsidized rate of Rs 1.60 to the farmers. The average cost of actual power supply is Rs 6.50 per unit for each customer. Power supply is provided to the farmers at subsidized rates, as the state government and commercial and industrial consumers are giving subsidy to MSEB. But in the coming days, the state’s energy department is planning to provide electricity to the farmers by Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) model where subsidy will directly be deposited in the beneficiary’s bank account. However, farmers should be disciplined to pay the electricity bill on time, senior official in the energy department said.