Deccan Chronicle

TRS to organise farmers' trips to study Modi's reforms

Deccan Chronicle.| dc correspondent

Published on: February 14, 2022 | Updated on: February 15, 2022

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has been repeatedly announcing that his government will not implement power reforms in Telangana

Telangana Chief Minister, K. Chandrashekar Rao. (DC Image)

Telangana Chief Minister, K. Chandrashekar Rao. (DC Image)

Hyderabad: The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) is all set to showcase the plight of farmers in the states where respective governments had agreed to implement the Centre's power sector reforms and installed meters for agriculture pump sets.

Select farmers from villages in all districts will be sent to other states to see for themselves and interact with farmers there to know how farmers were suffering due to power bills while Telangana farmers enjoy 24x7 free power with the TRS government's refusal to implement the Centre's reforms despite losing Rs 20,000 crore loans from the Centre, according to party sources.

While neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan have already launched the drive to install meters to agriculture pump sets in select districts, nine other states, namely Assam, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have agreed to implement power reforms and submitted proposals to the Centre in this regard.

In return, the Centre has allowed Rajasthan to borrow additional Rs 5,186 crore and Andhra Pradesh Rs 2,123 crore as incentive to embark on the reform process.

However, TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao is waging a battle against the Centre's power reforms. He has been repeatedly announcing that his government will not implement power reforms in Telangana, come what may, arguing that if implemented, it will result in the scrapping of 24x7 free power to agriculture scheme being implemented in the state. He said he was ready to forego additional borrowing facility of Rs 20,000 crore from the Centre in four years but would not install meters.

The union ministry of finance, based on the recommendations of the fifteenth finance commission, has decided to grant additional borrowing space of up to 0.5 percent of the gross state domestic product (GSDP) to the states every year for a four-year  period from

2021-22 to 2024-25 based on reform undertaken by the states in the power sector aimed to improve the operational and economic efficiency of the power sector, and promote a sustained increase in paid electricity consumption.

Party sources said farmers would be sent to Srikakulam district in AP first to examine how farmers who received free power all these days started receiving power bills with the installation of meters. The AP government has decided to transfer the subsidy amount under DBT (direct benefit transfer) scheme to farmers. However, farmers have to pay bills first and wait for government subsidy. This is similar to DBT being implemented for LPG domestic cylinders. A few farmers are learnt to have got bills of over Rs 1,000 per month.

The TRS wanted to undertake an aggressive campaign that DBT for LPG cylinders was paid promptly by the Centre to beneficiaries initially but now this has been withdrawn silently as beneficiaries are not receiving LPG subsidy for the past two-three years and even if some are receiving, it is just Rs 40 while they are paying nearly Rs 900 per cylinder against Rs 460 prior to DBT scheme.

The TRS has already sent teams to other states to examine the burden being faced by farmers there and study the ground realities before taking farmers' teams from Telangana to those states.

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