CHANDIGARH, March 11: Senior Congress leader and Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjeet Singh has urged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to involve the farmers in solar energy generation whereby they can not only produce power for themselves but can become power entrepreneurs also by selling and supplying the surplus power to Punjab State Power Grid Corportation.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Rana has sought an appointment whereby he can personally explain as how it can be implemented on the ground level. He has suggested that initially the government could identify one district for the pilot project which can be subsequently extended and expanded to other areas also.
The Congress leader said, he was speaking from his “personal experience being a farmer myself, an entrepreneur and a public representative” and had a fair idea that the concept of solar energy generation can work at the very basic level that is the farmers’ level and can make an entrepreneur out of every farmer.
“Besides being clean and green, the solar energy generation is very much a practicable idea and can be done at a large scale across the country as the atmospheric and climatic conditions are very favourable for solar energy generation in India”, he pointed out.
The Kapurthala MLA asked, while Indian and multinational companies were being encouraged to generate solar energy, why not also include the farmers’ for generating the solar energy, not only for their personal consumption alone, but also for others to consume it. “This will make an entrepreneur out of every farmer. The idea may appear to be too ambitious, but it is very much practical, practicable and achievable”, he remarked.
Rana also referred to the announcement by the Punjab government that individuals setting up solar panels will be provided subsidy by the state. “My suggestion is that include the farmers in that subsidy bracket for solar energy to encourage them produce their own power”, he observed, while adding, “this can eventually make farmers independent and they will not depend on the government subsidy anymore”.
Asserting that this can also transform the Punjab’s economy from debt ridden to cash surplus, he pointed out the annual bill of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited towards the state government on account of power subsidy amounts to Rs 6300 crore currently. If it is averaged at Rs 3000 crore annually since 1997 and the cumulative interest is added to it, the total amount almost equals to the state’s current debt of Rs 1.13 lakh crores.