25000 new tube well connections to be released in Punjab

Author(s): City Air NewsChandigarh, May 26, 2013: With a view to arrest the alarming trend of over exploitation of the ground water and ensure its judicious use in agriculture sector, the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal approved...

25000 new tube well connections to be released in Punjab
Author(s): 

Chandigarh, May 26, 2013: With a view to arrest the alarming trend of over exploitation of the ground water and ensure its judicious use in agriculture sector, the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal approved the Agriculture Power (AP) Tube Wells Policy stipulating guidelines for the release of electric connections for Agricultural pump sets in the state for the year 2013-14.  

Divulging the details of said policy a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission has mandated the state government to decide the number of Agricultural Pump sets (AP) connections to be released each year in the state for reasons of ecology, inadequate ground water potential, declining water table or any other reason. The new AP policy guidelines have been formulated in the backdrop of state government’s ambitious program of Crop diversification besides popularizing Drip/ Micro Irrigation amongst farmers especially the vegetable and fruit growers with a thrust on conservation of water, the state’s only available natural resource which was becoming scarce due to ever depleting water table. Reckless use of ground water has rendered 45 blocks in Punjab as over exploited blocks as revealed in the latest report of Central Ground water authority.  

Accordingly, the Chief Minister gave a go ahead to these policy guidelines for the current fiscal and a proposed target of 25000 AP connections had been fixed. Further in order to clear the backlog of General category applications pending since long 50000 additional connections under the ARTC scheme were proposed to be released on priority through outsourcing/ departmentally in view of the financial constraints of PSPCL during 2011-12 as per guidelines approved by the state government.

The Connection against all the applications registered under this priority category could not be released during 2012-13 and as such the remaining connections would be released in the year 2013-14. Under the policy it would be incumbent on the part of state government to fix the target for the release of AP connections annually in the beginning of every year and in any case the total number of AP connections released by the PSPCL in a year would not exceed the target fixed by the state government. 

Giving the category wise breakup of 25000 AP connections to be released in a year, the spokesperson said the general category would be allotted 15000 AP connections (60%), priority categories 7500 (30%) besides 2500 (10%) to miscellaneous category. The policy further stipulated that under the general category 60% of the AP connections (9000) would be allotted to the applicants comprising small farmers having land holding upto 2.5 acre and without any tube well connection, 20% (3000) connections for marginal farmers having land holding of more than 2.5 acre and upto 5 acre whereas the remaining 20% (3000) connections for big farmers having land holding more than 5 acre.

The priority categories included the applicants having Land across International Border fencing & River Ravi, Kandi Area, family partition, Ex-servicemen, members of Schedule Caste communities, Gallantry Awardees (Armed Forces and Civilians), Martyrs of Kargil War, Operation Rakshak in J&K and insurgency. Similarly, the miscellaneous category covered religious institutions including Gau Shalas, Gram Panchayats, Drip/ Micro Sprinkler System, Water Logged areas, Adarsh Schools and others.

It may be recalled that the SAD-BJP alliance government since its inception in 2007 has so far released as many as 204982 AP connections till February 2013.

To encourage the saving of ground water resources, tube well connections under Drip/Micro sprinkler system category would have the top most priority over all the other categories for the release of electricity connection. The guidelines of new AP connection policy also envisaged the ecological revival of Holy Bein as a priority category eligible for connection for de-watering of the pond water and using the same for irrigation of land of Panchayat/farmer of 103 villages identified under Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala districts. The Tube Well connections would be released in the name of gram panchayat under the gram panchayat priority and condition of minimum one acre land holding should not be applicable for release of such tube well connections.

Date: 
Sunday, May 26, 2013