Mangaluru, June 16, 2017: In a reply to Capt Ganesh Karnik (BJP) in the Legislative Council: Energy Minister D K Shivakumar admitted that the state government is not willing to take action against farmers who are illegally using irrigation pump (IP) sets, as the Assembly elections are fast nearing.
“Let me admit that there are a large number of illegal pump sets. It has become a big ‘dhanda’ in the state. But, we cannot take action against them in this election year…I think the government should act during its first year in office,” he stated
Farmers are illegally drawing water from rivers, ponds and lakes across the state using pump sets. In some cases, water is being pumped up to 20 km distance. The problem is so severe that the Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd sometimes finds it difficult to get water for its hydro power generating projects, he said.
Shivakumar said there are an estimated 4.81 lakh illegal IP sets. Of this 3.63 lakh have been regularised over the years.
The minister turned down the demand by Ramesh Babu (JD-S) that the government should not force the farmers to pay Rs 10,000 for the regularisation of the illegal IP sets and said that the farmers have to know the value of the power they are getting. “We have already yielded too much to the farmers. As much as 39% of the power being generated in the state is supplied to the farmers free of cost. The government is spending Rs 9,000 crore per annum on power subsidy. The farmers should know the value of the power,” he added.