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Jay Kisan Andolan: Odisha Farmers Demand Free Electricity for Agriculture

A farmer's protest was organized in front of the tehsildar's office at Sohela in Odisha under the banner of the "Jay Kisan Andolan" in order to seek free power for farming.

Eashani Chettri
Odisha farmers are demanding free electricity for agriculture
Odisha farmers are demanding free electricity for agriculture

A protest was organized in front of the tehsildar's office at Sohela in the Bargarh district on Monday by hundreds of farmers under the banner of the "Jay Kisan Andolan" in order to seek free power for farming.

 

 

Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has recently appointed Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, a 1986 batch IAS officer, as the chairman. The OERC chairperson post had been lying vacant since January 2022 ever since the previous post holder UN Behera had resigned.

Farmers urged the government to pay off outstanding energy bills, guarantee an uninterrupted power supply, address low voltage concerns, and take action to fix transformers within 24 hours of their failure in a memo sent to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through Sohela tehsildar Hari Om Bhoi.

Hari Bania, who is the General Secretary of the ‘Jay Kisan Andolan’ stated that because of a lack of irrigation facilities, the farmers of Odisha have no other choice but to depend on the deep bore well water for the cultivation. Irrigation via bore well is expensive and it ends up adding to their input cost.

 

“The electricity for the farmers is free in some other states. Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Rajasthan all provide free electricity to the farmers. The Odisha government has increased farmers’ burden by mixing up Tata Power in power distribution. Tata Power Western Odisha Distribution Limited has now taken over the electricity distribution. This has greatly increased our problems and the exploitation of farmers. If our demands are ignored, we will start the agitation,” Bania warned.

The farmers’ memorandum was accepted by Bhoi who promised that it would be forwarded to the correct forum.

 

 

Electricity demands are increasing not just among Odisha farmers but also all over the country. With the increasing warnings of heat waves, the demand for electricity is likely to increase to 229 GW in April, according to the Ministry of Power, India.

 

 

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