Tamil Nadu farmers are sceptical whether solar-powered pumpsets would be able to draw water beyond a depth of 50-60 ft (20 metres at the most). Besides, the quantum of water required for irrigation may not be pumped, said Mahadhanapuram V Rajaram, working president of the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association. This would be quite useful between 10 am and 4 pm and the quantum being pumped would gradually decline thereafter, he added.
And only if this water were to be stored and used, it would be good for irrigation. Though the State government would bear 80 per cent (Rs. 4 lakh) of the cost of Rs 5 lakh, even the rest — Rs 1 lakh — would be possible only for big farmers. Hence, it will be ideal if the government first grants this subsidy to big farmers on a trial basis and, if it were to succeed, extend it to the small farmers next year, he said.
Big farmers would be able to use this for drip irrigation or use PVC pipes to let the water into their farm ponds. At the same time, he was happy to point out that in Karur district alone 64 farmers handed over drafts to the authorities on Thursday for this scheme and “50 more are ready. However, Agriculture Department officials are reluctant to accept them as it would not be possible to accommodate so many, he said.
V Duraimanickam, general secretary, Tamil Nadu unit of the All India Kisan Sabha, while welcoming the scheme, wanted this to be extended to more farmers. Conceding that it would help big farmers more, he appealed to the Chief Minister to enhance the subsidy amount further so that small farmers could avail its benefits. This would protect farmers from frequent and unscheduled power cuts.
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