Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy on Thursday made some alterations in his flagship programme that provides free power to farmers for the agricultural pump.
The government introduced direct benefit transfer (DBT) in case of the subsidy being extended to agricultural power consumers in the form of free power.
According to an order issued by Energy Secretary Srikant Nagulapalli, the money will be transferred to the accounts of farmers to pay power bills instead of paying to the power companies and for this purpose, the smart meters are fixed on agriculture connections.
The opposition criticized the government that it’s going back on the poll promise.
BJP leader Lanka Dinakar said that “Operating Efficiency of Discoms is in miserable conditions in the state due to ineffective and inefficient management. Hence, today this condition has emerged in the power sector in Andhra Pradesh. The question is when will subsidy money be transferred into the farmers’ account and before such transfer, whether farmers shall pay their dues first. Where are the resources for farmers to pay upfront and farmers may face trouble, if the state government makes delay in Direct Cash Transfer.”
YSRCP leader Dr. Kammela Sridhar told The Daily Guardian, “The Govt has decided to deposit money into accounts of the farmers. That money is only for paying the power bills and it cannot be adjusted towards any other loans. Instead of paying the money to discoms, it is now paying to the farmers. Free power to agriculture meters goes on. There is no problem with it. Another one lakh farmers were added to the list.”
“The Andhra Pradesh government spends Rs 8,300 crores on it. TDP is unnecessarily making it an issue. The government is developing 10,000 MW solar power in the state, there will be no problem for free power for another 35 years,” Sridhar added further.
After a lot of uproar, CM Jagan Mohan Reddy made it clear that there was no question of asking the farmers to pay the electricity bills from their pockets and the power supply to their crops would continue to remain free and cash will be directly transferred to the beneficiaries.