State

In six months, 1 lakh more farmers receive free power- The New Indian Express

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: After giving a farmer a free power connection at an event in Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation’s (TANGEDCO) head office in Chennai, Chief Minister MK Stalin on Saturday said agricultural production would increase if farmers are provided free electricity.

Between September 2021 and March this year, TANGEDCO has given free power connections to one lakh farmers. In honour of this, the chief minister interacted with one lakh farmers via video-conference from TANGEDCO’s Chennai office on Saturday. He also gave a free power connection order to the last beneficiary of the scheme — farmer P Kannapillai, from Ulundurpet.

“It’s encouraging to hear what farmers say about the free power connections. When Electricity Minister V Senthil Balaji told me about the scheme to provide one lakh free power connections, I asked whether it was possible. However, I launched the programme on September 23, 2021, and within a few months, the minister and TANGEDCO’s officers have done a great job by completing the project,” Stalin said.

He also pointed out that farmers paid electricity charges of Rs 50 per horsepower (HP), and those with power connections of more than 10 HP capacity paid Rs 75 per HP till 1990. In November that year, former chief minister M Karunanidhi announced a scheme to provide free power supply, and also gave out 2,09,910 free service connections between 2006 and 2011, the chief minister said, adding that in the last 10 years (2011-2021), the government provided only 2,21,579 free connections — an average of 22,100 per year. 

As on March 31, 2021, a total of 4,52,777 applications were pending. Now, the government provided one lakh connections, taking the total number of beneficiaries to 22.80 lakh, while the space for agricultural purposes has increased to 2,13,107 acres, and electrical motors with a capacity of 6,30,340 HP have been linked to TANGEDCO’s grid. The power utility allocated Rs 803 crore for this scheme.Electricity Minister V Senthil Balaji, Chepauk-Triplicane MLA Udhayanidhi Stalin, and Energy Secretary Ramesh Chand Meena were at the event.

The Three 23s
Stating that the number 23 is linked to the free power connection scheme, TANGEDCO chairman and MD Rajesh Lakhani said the scheme was introduced on September 23, and when sufficient raw materials weren’t available due to the war in Ukraine, work was stopped till February 23, and the project was completed on March 23

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