Maharashtra: 10 p surcharge to foot State billfor solar pumps

Mumbai: With an eye on the upcoming polls, the Maharashtra government has announced that it will provide solar irrigation pumps to farmers.  The twist in the tale is that instead of dipping in its coffers, the state will slap a 10 p surcharge per unit on industrial and commercial consumers to cover the cost of Rs 825 crore.

The decision was taken by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company and came into effect from November 1.
Chandrashekhar Bawan-kule, Minister for Energy, had last week announced that the state will provide one lakh solar pumps to farmers in three phases beginning this year up to 2021. In the first phase, it will provide 25,000 solar pumps to farmers.

Arvind Singh, principal secretary to the energy department, said, “In the first phase, the state will provide solar pumps having a capacity of 3 to 5 Horsepower. The total expense is Rs 825 crore but the state has no resources right now, so we have decided to raise funds by applying a surcharge on some consumers.”

Thereby, the state expects to collect Rs 90 cr per month. An official of the power ministry explained that pumps with a 3 Hp capacity operate on Alternate Current and the cost of each device is Rs 2.40 lakh, whereas the cost of a similar capacity pump operating on direct current is Rs 2.55 lakh. Also, the cost of each 5 Hp AC pump is Rs 3.25 lakh.

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