Absence of rain has led to a sharp increase in demand for electricity from the agriculture sector in the last few days, figures provided by the state government show. This has forced the farmers to increase pressure on the government seeking power supply for more hours.
According to officials, the total demand for electricity from agriculture sector in the state was 7 million units (MUs) on August 30, which went up to almost 70 million units (69.79 MUs on September 6) a ten-fold increase. This is mainly because farmers are consuming more electricity as they need to draw higher quantities of water for their fields, in view of little or no rain.
On September 6, agriculture sector in Saurashtra region alone consumed more than 40 million units, almost 60% of that consumed in the entire state, followed by north Gujarat, which consumed 26.8 MUs.
“There has been a sharp increase in demand for power from agriculture sector in the first week of September, but we have been able to meet the demand comfortably,” DJ Pandian, principal secretary of energy & petrochemicals department, said.
The spurt in agricultural power demand means that the sector is now consuming more than 25% of the total power generated in the state, just lower than industrial segment which is consuming around 28% of electricity produced.
The agriculture sector is currently supplied electricity for eight hours. Farmers have been knocking at the doors of the government demanding that the supply should be increased to 10 to 12 hours. A number of MLAs, especially from Saurashtra, have also been pressing the government for the demand.