Gujarat farmers face power cuts, Energy Minister Kanubhai Desai assures resolution in 15 days



AHMEDABAD: With farmers in different parts of Gujarat complaining of frequent power cuts, Energy Minister Kanubhai Desai on Friday said the “crisis” is mainly due to a short supply of coal and the situation will become normal in the next 15 days.

While admitting that shortage of coal – due to a combination of factors, including flooding in coal mines in some parts of the world and rise in domestic demand – has hit generation at thermal power plants, Desai said Gujarat is in a much better position compared to other states.

“There is a scarcity of coal across the globe because coal mines are facing issues (of flooding) due to (excessive) rain. It is happening because of climate change. As a result, supply of coal has been hampered. But, this is a temporary issue,” he told reporters in Vapi town of south Gujarat when asked about the frequent power cuts.

The situation is likely to improve in the next fortnight, he said.

“There is a crisis in other states like Uttar Pradesh. But, the issue is not that severe in Gujarat. (For example) there is no issue in Vapi. It is mostly in the Saurashtra region.

“To overcome the issue, we are planning to provide electricity (to farmers) during the night. I am confident that we will come out of this crisis in the next 15 days” Desai said.

Earlier in the day, Congress MLA Bharatji Thakor wrote a letter to Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and Desai, complaining that farmers of Mehsana district were not getting adequate power supply to irrigate their fields.

“Agricultural electricity supply has become irregular and inadequate. Farmers wait for hours in their fields for electricity to irrigate their fields. On an average, they receive only 2 to 4 hours of power supply.

“As a result, their standing crop is not getting enough water. Thus, I have urged the CM and Desai to resolve this issue,” said Thakor.

A similar letter demanding adequate power supply was also written to the CM by the Gujarat chapter of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, which is linked to the RSS.

Farmers in different parts of the state have been claiming that power cuts have become routine since the last few weeks.

“Earlier, we used to get 10 hours of supply (everyday). Now, we get the supply for 7 to 8 hours and that, too, with interruptions. We need continuous supply to save our standing crops.

“When we call officials to lodge a complaint, they tell us to bear with them as coal is not available to generate enough electricity,” said a farmer of Vanaliya village under Sanand taluka of Ahnmedabad district.

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