Solar power for irrigation pumpsets proposed

The Agriculture department has submitted a proposal to the State government to supply solar power to irrigation pumpsets (IP). The project is aimed at ensuring at least eight hours of uninterrupted power supply for running IP sets.

Disclosing this at a function organised to release the Agriculture department’s diary and calendar for the year 2013, Agriculture Minister Umesh Katti said the department had planned to implement the project on a pilot basis in Belgaum, Shimoga and Kolar districts.

The proposal has been submitted to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar recently, urging him to allocate Rs 100 crore for the project in the 2013-14 budget, he said.

The project can be implemented in both irrigated and dry land areas. Using solar panel, water can be pumped from 300 ft to 1,000 ft depth. The Centre provides up to 86 per cent subsidy for installing solar panels. The Agriculture department has proposed to cover the remaining 14 per cent subsidy. The Andhra Pradesh government has successfully implemented such a project, Katti said.

He said the government had been spending about Rs 3,000 crore on providing free power to an estimated 20 lakh IP sets every year in the State. By successfully implementing the solar project, the government will be able to save the entire subsidy amount, he said.

Besides, a decision has been taken to extend the drip irrigation scheme for commercial crops such as sugar cane and cotton. It will be announced in the 2013-14 budget.
Drip irrigation will not only considerably reduce water usage, but also increase the yield three-fold. A subsidy of 75 per cent is being provided under the drip irrigation scheme, he said.

Katti said he has submitted a proposal to the chief minister to allocate Rs 2,600 crore exclusively for the Agriculture department in the next budget.

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