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Congress counters TDP criticism on free power

By Our Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD, FEB. 20. The Congress Legislature Party has come out with a 13-page note to counter the Telugu Desam Party criticism on free power that the Government has gone back on its poll promise.

To counter the TDP charge, the CLP has decided to enlighten the farmers about the Government's commitment to continue free power with minor changes.

The CLP furnished details of the power charge levied by the TDP Government on the farm sector. They said that in 1995, the power tariff for 3 HP pumpset was Rs. 150 while it became Rs. 825 in 2003-04. Similarly, in the DPAP areas, the tariff increase was between 350 and 1250 per cent for agriculture connection ranging from 3 HP to 10 HP.

The note explains how the Chief Minister, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, after assuming charge waived Rs. 1,193 crores arrears and announced Rs. 460 crores subsidy. The CLP said that the Government only wanted the scheme to continue uninterrupted and ensure the benefit to the needy farmers.

Free power benefited big farmers and corporate farms but caused problems to the Government. The Government decided to review the free power policy to eliminate these sections, the CLP claimed. The TDP criticism reflected its concern for the big farmers and corporate farms which constituted 1 per cent of beneficiaries.

They pointed out that 80 per cent of the landholding was with the small and marginal farmers and 18 per cent had less than 25 acres. Ninety per cent of the farmers still benefited after the review of the policy, the CLP explained.

Even after the fresh look at the power policy, 21 lakh pumpset owners out of the 23 lakhs would be benefited. The note said the Government was committed to complete the pending irrigation projects so as to bring 65 lakh acres under irrigation.

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