Scrolling down the line, it can be seen that most of the parties, way back in 2004 and 2009 general elections, promised to provide free electricity to the farmers. The issue – to waive off power bills of farmers, was in fact, one of the most crucial agendas to find its place in their manifestos.

Two major regional satraps – Samajwadi Party (SP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which projects themselves as well-wishers of farmers also, have not included the issue of electricity in their manifesto this time.

The facts behind the curtain are quite different. The new government faces the challenge to bring the ailing economy back on track and in such a scenario, promise of providing free electricity can’t be made.

General elections are being held in April-May this time, during when the mercury, especially and North and North-Central India is at its peak. It could be another reason, why the parties chose to overlook this very issue.

Ashok Khurana, president of Independent Power Producer (IDP), an umbrella body of private power companies said, “It’s a welcome step. The political brethren have started acknowledging and understanding this very fact that right now, no section of society can be provided free electricity and it’s not beneficial from financial or other viewpoint as well.”

In fact, in the initial months of a new financial year, the power tariffs are increased and it’s almost certain that people will have to pay more for electricity consumption after the conclusion of Lok Sabha elections.

According to the latest data of Power Ministry, most of the states are not using their allocated units of electricity. Out of the total units sold, Uttar Pradesh has used only 65 percent, Jammu & Kashmir 37.6 percent, Punjab 61.6 percent, Haryana 58.4 percent, Bihar 42.1 percent and Jharkhand 43.2 percent. This has resulted in the power corporations of these states reeling under pressure.

According to VK Shunglu committee report, which was constituted in 2011, a proposal was made to charge 50 paise per unit of electricity from the farmers, even when a promise was made to provide them power free of cost. The Central government has accepted this report and the process of installing separate meters for the usage of electricity involved in irrigation has already started.

Now, the onus lies on the new government to carry this new process forward.

JPN/Bureau

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