THE Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) demanded that about 14,000 power connections disconnected by the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) authorities in the agriculture sector be regularised, and also over two lakh long-pending applications for new connections be disposed at the earliest.
The delegation of Kutch farmers led by State BKS general secretary Maganbhai Patel called on Minister of State for Energy Saurabh Patel here on Monday evening and urged him to restore the power connections. They also demanded that a large number of applications pending for long for fresh connections be cleared as early as possible.
After the meeting, the BKS general secretary said that the government had recently issued a circular, allowing farmers to increase the horse power capacity of pumps installed on their farm wells to draw water for irrigation purpose. The farmers using the increased horse power were to pay additional amount as fixed by the GUVNL.
However, in a series of raids carried out recently on farms by teams of GUVNL officers disconnected over 14,000 such power connections without giving prior notice to the ryots. Patel said most of the farmers who have lost their farm connections belonged to Saurashtra/Kutch and North Gujarat regions where the water table has gone down drastically, forcing them to voluntarily increase the capacity of their pumps. Asked, the BKS leader said the minister had assured the delegation to look into the matter.
Although the BKS is the ruling BJP’s farmers’ wing, its members continue to suffer at the hands of GUVNL authorities who are hell-bent on punishing the farming community under one pretext or the other. The BJP leadership should not forget that the Assembly elections are due by this year end and farmers may react strongly at the hustings by exercising their franchise against the ruling party,” the leader warned.
Besides being critical of the government for not clearing the mounting backlog of farmers’ applications for fresh power connections, the BKS leader chided the government for suspending the “tatkal” scheme under which new connections were being provided to peasants on payment of additional charges.
“If the government is unable to dispose expeditiously the pending applications of farmers, it should immediately revive the “tatkal” scheme,” he said.
Former State BKS spokesman Kanubhai Patel said that on the one hand the government claimed that the water table had come up considerably in many areas due to its better water management, on the other hand it has declared as many as 57 talukas under the “dark zone” where the pumping ground water has been prohibited. “If the water table has really increased, as claimed by the government, it should immediately lift the dark zone ban imposed on these talukas”, he said, adding that most of these talukas are in North Gujarat and Saurashtra.
Courtesy: Ahmedabad Newsline - Ahmedabad,India