KCR’s free power promise evokes mixed response

HYDERABAD: Farmers reacted favourably to Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s pledge to give free power for the farming sector nationwide if a non-BJP government was elected in the 2024 parliamentary elections, but the power industry has objected.

Young farmer Srikanth from Nallavelli in Nizamabad district welcomed the promise while underscoring the need to supply quality power supply for at least 12 hours a day. According to him, there is inadequate infrastructure at the agricultural fields, such as transformers and electricity cables, which regularly causes problems.

According to political analyst Mallepally Laxmaiah, farmers were concerned over issues relating to water and electricity, and Chandrasekhar Rad has spent the last eight years largely focusing on the important power issue. “Political dynamics obviously had an effect on the free power announcement for the agrarian community,” he averred.

Farmers who use motorised pumps to irrigate their crops require a steady power supply. The maintenance of the submersible pump sets cost the farmers a fortune. During agricultural operations, numerous farmers have died after being electrocuted. In such a scenario, the Chief Minister’s pledge of free electricity for farmers sparked a lot of debate among farmers, most of whom welcomed his assurance.

Experts in the power sector stated that a thorough study is required regarding supplying free power to the farming sector. According to them, farmers in Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and other states relied more on submersible pump sets. They believed that better infrastructure was a fundamental requirement for the agricultural sector and argued that water and land availability was also crucial to avail free power supply.

According to Shivaji, president of the Telangana State Electricity Employees Association, the largest reported demand for electricity in recent years was 2.09 lakh MW. According to him, the agriculture sector must meet at least 20 to 25 per cent of the total demand. Before implementing a 24×7 free power supply for farmers, he advised studying generation, distribution, and other aspects.

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