UP Farmers Term Yogi’s Promise of Free Power for Tube Wells ‘Stunt’
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Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh (UP) farmers have accused the Yogi Adityanath government of betraying them by not fulfilling its promise of free electricity for private tube wells.
One month before the UP Assembly election in February 2022, the government issued an order slashing electricity bills for tube wells by 50%. Subsequently, the BJP manifesto promised free power to farmers using private tube wells.
According to the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) data, around 14 lakh private tube wells used by farmers have a total connected load of around 75 lakh kilowatts, more than 12% of the state’s total power load. They also consume around 15 lakh mega units annually, or 14% of the total energy.
However, farmers have alleged that the promise, supposed to be fulfilled starting April 1 this year was false.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leaders in several parts of western UP organised protests and reminded the government to fulfil the promise.
“I was sent a bill of Rs 678 for using a private tube in April. I have to pay by May 30. Electricity is not free; the government is lying to farmers,” Rishipal Singh, a farmer in Sarurpur of Baghpat district, told Newsclick.
In the Meerut zone, 76,000 farmers owe around Rs 125 crore to the UPPCL despite the State Budget waiving 100% electricity charges for farmers using private tube wells. About 3.45 lakh tube well users owe more than Rs 2,600 crore to Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (PVVNL).
The Budget provided Rs 1,500 crore as a cash subsidy to the UPPCL to help it provide free electricity for the around 14 lakh private tube wells.
“The Adityanath government is advertising in newspapers claiming that free electricity has been provided to farmers using tube wells without issuing a notification to this effect,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (Apolitical) leader Dharmendra Malik told Newsclick.
Sanjeev Yadav, a farmer from Etawah, confirmed that farmers are getting electricity bills. “It was Yogi Adityanath’s election stunt to fool farmers and get their votes,” he alleged.
Echoing similar views, BKU’s Meerut president Anurag Chaudhary said the UP government’s announcement was “an eyewash to lure farmers ahead of the Assembly polls”.
“We don’t trust the BJP government. If it is so concerned about farmers, they should stop installing meters on tube wells,” he added.
Last year, farmers from across western UP intensified their protest under the BKU by allegedly holding officials hostage for several hours inside the PVVNL’s Meerut office after the installation of electric meters on their tube wells.
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