Under the scheme, which was initially launched in January, the government planned to offer up to 90 per cent subsidy on setting up solar units to run agricultural power connections of individual farmers
Patiala: Punjab has high expectations from the new version of Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Uhaan Mahaabhiyan (KUSUM), which the Union government plans to launch. Authorities hope that the new initiative, under which solar power will be provided to agricultural feeders, will reduce Punjab’s agriculture subsidy bill of Rs 6,801.51 crore.
Under the scheme, which was initially launched in January, the government planned to offer up to 90 per cent subsidy on setting up solar units to run agricultural power connections of individual farmers.
Punjab government pays Rs 6,801.51 crore to the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) for around 14 lakh tubewell connections provided to farmers with free electricity. However, previous efforts to launch similar plans made by the state and Union government failed to generate desired response from farmers due to the high cost of solar energy.
PSPCL chairman-cum-managing director A Venu Prasad said the new version of KUSUM scheme has the potential to mitigate the financial burden being faced by the state government by eliminating or at least reducing the subsidy burden.
Punjab’s total power subsidy bill (including agriculture) stands at Rs 16,400.26 crore, which is almost 53 per cent of the annual revenue requirement of the power corporation.
According to calculations made by the Union government, cost of running agricultural feeders with solar power can be recovered in about three years. Therefore, instead of bearing the subsidy bill year after year, the government can spend a consolidated amount on installing solar power plants that can be connected to agricultural feeders.