Gods and the governments have always been the first and last refuge of the farmers in northern plains when it comes to irrigating their fields.When both failed them, the fate of their crops hung in balance.But now, troubled with the unscheduled power cuts, the farmers are increasingly looking towards solar-powered water pumps.The 75% subsidy being offered by the government is also making the solar pumps affordable for the farmers.The popularity of the solar pumps in Bijnor could be gauged from the fact that over 1,500 farmers have applied for the equipment this financial year.
But the administration has been able to allot only 130 equipment so far.Under the Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojna, the Central and the state governments are providing 75% subsidy on the solar-powered pumps.Last year, the administration had installed 123 solar pumps in the district. After observing the efficiency of the installed solar equipment, the farmers are now flocking the agriculture department office to get them.The department had planned to install 130 solar pumps this financial year. But, so far, over 1,500 farmers have applied online to get the pumps in Bijnor.
Surendra Singh, a farmer of Mandawali village, told TOI, “The farmers face a tough time due to the frequent power cuts. Solar pumps are the best option for irrigation. Earlier, these pumps were costly, but with the subsidy it has become the best option.”Singh demanded that the solar pumps should also be insured as there is a threat of thieves in the villages.”Solar pumps are soft target for thieves. Some pumps have been stolen from the wells,” he said.Deputy director of the agriculture department, Jaspal Singh, said, “In this financial year, the cost of the solar pumps have gone down. Earlier, the cost of a 2HP solar pump was Rs 60,275 after subsidy while this year it has gone down to Rs 23, 050 each.”
“Similarly, the cost of 3HP solar pump has reduced from Rs 1,17,200 to Rs 64,070 after the benefit of subsidy.”Singh added: “We are planning to provide a trolley to the farmers on which they could carry their solar systems to the wells. UP agro will supply these special trolley to the farmers. With it, the farmers will be able to carry these panels to their house from the wells to minimise the chance of theft”He also said that due to the increased demand, the department has now asked for 1,500 solar pumps from the Centre.
“We have sent a proposal of 1,500 solar pumps to the Central government under Pradhan Mantri Sichai Yojana. However, we have not got any response so far. If district gets these pumps also, we will enable to provide pumps to all applicants.”