Rajasthan: Power subsidy held up for months, farmers threaten stir against Ashok Gehlot govt

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Updated: Jun 05, 2020 5:07 PM

Rajasthan farmers protest: The power subsidy was announced by the erstwhile BJP government in October 2018, months before the assembly election. The subsidy was halted by the Congress government post-September 2019.

farmers protest in rajasthanFarmers in Sikar district’s Dhod say they are not receiving the electricity bill subsidy of Rs 833 a month. (Express Photo)

Several farmer organisations across Rajasthan have threatened to launch an agitation against the Congress government for not providing the subsidy in power tariffs that was promised by the previous BJP regime. According to a report in The Indian Express, the Ashok Gehlot government’s decision to stop adjusting the subsidy amount in bills is forcing farmers to pay more.

Farmers have said that they will launch a statewide agitation from June 8 to press for their right. They alleged that their electricity bills have shot up after the government stopped providing them the power subsidy.

The subsidy was announced by the erstwhile BJP government in October 2018, months before the assembly election. This subsidy was in addition to the regular tariff subsidy already provided by the state government. However, the BJP lost the power to the Congress in the elections held in December.

According to an order issued by the Rajasthan Energy Department on October 5, 2018, a subsidy of Rs 833 per month to the tune of a maximum subsidy of Rs 10,000 annually was to be provided to the farmer consumers having general category connections.

The IE report said farmers were given benefit of the scheme till September 2019 as the subsidy amount was adjusted in the power bills. However, post-September 2019, the subsidy was discontinued, 10 months after the Congress formed the government under Ashok Gehlot’s leadership. Amit Kumar, Assistant Engineer (Operations & Maintenance), in Sikar district said the subsidy was last provided around September 2019.

Kishan Pareek, a member of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) in Sikar district, said that the farmers are forced to pay more money despite government’s promise to transfer the subsidy amount into their bank accounts. He said that farmers were asked to provide details of their bank accounts and were told that the amount will be transferred to their banks through DBT.

“We gave our account details but despite that we haven’t received any subsidy amount through DBT till date in our bank accounts. The subsidy which till now was being adjusted from our bill itself was also stopped with farmers being forced to pay more money in their electricity bills. Since then no farmer has got benefit of the scheme,” he said.

Amra Ram, former CPI (M) MLA from Sikar district and vice president, AIKS, said even the people who have provided their account details are not getting the subsidy. He said there was no need to pay the subsidy of Rs 833 as DBT as this amount too could have been adjusted from the bills, as it was being done till last year.

“We have planned a state-wide protest on June 8 and the stopping of this subsidy is one of the issues we are raising,” Amra said.

Interestingly, top officials of the Energy department said the scheme was still functional, but people working with the department said that the subsidy has stopped coming.

The IE report said that the Congress government in Rajasthan at present provides a subsidy of Rs 12,500 crore to 14 lakh farmers across in power tariffs.

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