VIJAYAWADA: Fulfilling yet another of his pre-poll promises, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy took a key decision that is certain to give a major push for improved farming conditions in the state. In a landmark decision, his government granted permission on Monday for the setting up of solar power plants across the state to generate 10,000 Megawatts of electricity. The move is expected to hugely benefit the farming community.
The state government gave its green signal for proposals forwarded by Andhra Pradesh Green Energy Corporation Limited with the objective of providing nine hours of uninterrupted day-time electricity to farmers in the state. It may be recalled that the state government is already bearing the costs of agricultural electricity, giving it to the distribution companies (DISCOMs) in the form of subsidies. The same subsidy was significantly way too less during the previous TDP regime.
In 2015-16, the subsidy on agriculture power was Rs 3,186 crores which increased marginally to Rs 4,000 crores in 2018-19. But with the previous TDP government of Chandrababu Naidu failing to pay even these subsidies, the DISCOMs were plunged into a terrible debt crisis.
But in stark contrast, the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP government has allocated Rs 8,354 crores towards subsidies for agriculture electricity in the year 2020-21. This is clearly more than double the amount that was allocated and not paid during the previous regime. There are a total of 18.37 lakh agricultural electricity connections in Andhra Pradesh. The electricity consumption capacity is estimated to be at 1.11 crore horsepower or 8,300 Megawatts.
Once the solar power generation plants become operational, it is expected to give a big boost to the farming activity in ensuring the nine-hour day-time power supply which in turn will augment agricultural productivity.