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Posted at: Jun 16, 2019, 6:37 AM; last updated: Jun 16, 2019, 7:40 PM (IST)

In Punjab, rampant abuse of power subsidy by well-off

Rich, not poor farmers, benefit; 3 Malwa dists top chart
In Punjab, rampant abuse of power subsidy by well-off

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 15

Power subsidy (free power) meant for marginal farmers has been usurped by Punjab’s rich and influential agriculturists, with over two lakh consumers having two subsidised agriculture power (AP) connections and over 10,000 with four or more. 

Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL) data reveals that of the total of 12.51 lakh agriculture power consumers (compiled till April) in the state, more than 1.83 lakh hold multiple AP accounts.

Bathinda has 1.09 lakh subsidised AP consumers, the maximum in a district, with 10,326 of them holding multiple AP connections. Faridkot district has over 10,580 farmers with multiple AP connections and Ferozepur 16,058.

Sources say most agriculturists with multiple AP connections have close ties with politicians and officials.

“A former Leader of Opposition has six subsidised connections,” a PSPCL official  claimed. However, a top officer with five AP connections justified: “The government is providing subsidy, we are accepting it. There is nothing wrong in it”. 

Sources said while marginal farmers with landholding less than 5 acres struggled for tubewell connections, the well-off had multiple connections. 


SETTING EXAMPLE

  • Three ministers have given up power subsidy. They are Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Finance Minister Manpreet Badal and Revenue Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar
  • PPCC chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar was among the first political leaders to do so
DATA includes Below Poverty Line and SC consumers

1.42 lakh consumers have double AP entries 

29,322 have availed of triple connections 

10,128 have over four connections:  Ferozepur 1,504, Faridkot 1,260 and Muktsar 1,032

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