Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Nov 02, 2004
Industry & Economy
Agri-Biz & Commodities - Cultivation
APTransco asks farmers to shift to irrigated dry crops
Hyderabad , Nov. 1
TRANSMISSION Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Ltd (APTransco) has asked the farmers to shift to "irrigated dry (ID) crops" from paddy cultivation in the ensuing rabi season.
In an appeal to the 23.5-lakh agricultural power consumers, Ms Rachel Chatterjee, Chairperson and Managing Director of APTransco, said the power utility could give no assurance of adequate power for paddy crops. "We can only ensure adequate power for ID crops," she said.
"Water used for one acre of paddy cultivation could be used for five acres of ID crops. Besides, ID crops involve less investments and more returns," she said in a press release here on Sunday.
She said the power utility had chalked out a plan to make it loud and clear that there was no other go but to shift their crop preferences.
Directing the field officers of the utility to go to villages and convince the farmers against taking up paddy cultivation, she said the staff would work in tandem with the State Government officials in this endeavour.
The Government decided to take up a fortnight-long campaign, beginning November 1 in the State to advise the farmers not to go for water-intensive crops. It had even set up targets for ID crops for the year.
Terming the power supply scenario critical, she said the shortfall of power generation (based on reservoir levels for the rabi season) was estimated at around 1-2 crore units a day. "The situation in the post-March scenario will be much more grave," she said.
The March-April examination season would also put pressure on the power utilities, she felt. In view of the bleak scenario, it might not be possible to maintain the power supply to the agriculture sector as was done in the last season.
Ms Chatterjee pointed out that the Transco and distribution companies successfully met the power requirements during the kharif season. "Not even a single acre of crop was affected or withered due to lack of power supply," she claimed.
The power utilities would once again take it as a challenge to ensure proper supply to ID crops till the season ended in March next.
As they shifted to ID crops, the farmers would help relieve stress on ground water levels that were fast depleting.
In order to bring home the message effectively, the Transco would display posters at vantage points in all the villages, educating the farmers on the need to shift to crops that required less water.
Leaflets would be distributed in the village level committee meetings.
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