Monday, Jul 16, 2018 | Last Update : 04:27 PM IST

Free electricity will put load of Rs 3,500 crore on Maharashtra

THE ASIAN AGE. | UMAKANT DESHPANDE
Published : Jan 3, 2018, 5:20 am IST
Updated : Jan 3, 2018, 5:22 am IST

If the state announces free power for the farmers, it will have to pay an amount of approximately Rs 3,500 crore per year, said sources.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis
 Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai: If Maharashtra government decides to give free power to more than 40 lakh farmers across the state who have agricultural pumps, it will come with a burden of Rs 3,500 crore per year, said sources from the energy department.

However, of the 40 lakh farmers in the state, about 36 lakh already have arrears of bills amounting to Rs 22,000 crore to their credit, forcing the Mahavitaran company to face a financial crunch.

The state-controlled electricity company has been sending bills to the farmers, amounting to about Rs 750-Rs 800 crore in each quarter of the year. However, hardly 10 to 15 per cent of it is recovered.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had earlier announced Krishi Sanjeevani Scheme, offering the farmers an option of paying only the principle amount of the bill, in five instalments, without any interest or fine. However, the offer was unable to get any positive response from the farmers and only Rs 300 crore could be collected from the farmers, including the current bill, Mahavitaran sources said.

The scheme regarding solar pumps being provided to the farmers too has been closed and a new feeder based solar system will soon be introduced.

If the state announces free power for the farmers, it will have to pay an amount of approximately Rs 3,500 crore per year, said sources.

The next year being the election year, it is likely that the political parties and farmer organisations will put pressure on the government and Mr Fadnavis to take the decision of making power free, said Bharatiya Janata Party sources.

Tags: maharashtra government, maharashtra chief minister devendra fadnavis