24x7 farm power blamed for water crisis in Telangana
Hyderabad: The 24x7 free power which is being provided to agriculture since January 1 is considered to be one of main reasons for depleting groundwater level in the state.
The drive initiated by the Telangana government to remove auto starters from agriculture borewells could not achieve the desired results as farmers were not cooperating, fearing that the government might bring back the old system of giving power in phases to meet peak power demand in summer from domestic and industrial sectors.
With this, borewells in districts were running round the clock with the ongoing rabi season in full swing. Relying on 24x7 power supply, farmers opted for paddy, cotton and pulses in rabi, putting a heavy demand on water.
With agricultural bore-wells running round-the-clock, several villages and habitations in districts are passing resolutions to restrict free power to 9 hours or even less till monsoon sets in to prevent further depletion of ground water-level.
Less than a month after 24x7 free power was launched on January 1, about 223 villages and 27 mandals have passed unanimous resolutions requesting the government to stop 24x7 free power and restrict it to 9 hours or even less till the Summer ends.
“This is because the government relies on bore wells and agricultural wells for summer contingency plan to supply drinking water to affected villages and habitations and if agriculture motors run round-the-clock now due to 24x7 free power, the availability of ground water in peak summer season will be nil,” they said.
Following protests from people in Karimnagar, Jagtial, Siricilla, Nalgonda, Sangareddy, officials have imposed curbs on free power. They are asking farmers to not use motors beyond four hours and have threatened to disconnect power supply if they run motors round-the-clock just because 24x7 free power.