Report by Kamgar Ekta committee (KEC) correspondent
Farmers of Karnataka, under the banner of Karnataka Pranta Raitha Sangha (KPRS), held a demonstration outside the office of Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company Limited (GESCOM), on November 3, 2022 to oppose the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022.
The leader of the KPRS, Shri Sharanabasappa Mamshetty, while addressing the demonstrators, said that the proposed Bill will pave the way for complete privatisation of power sector and adversely impact all major sectors in the economy, especially the farm sector.
“If the electricity amendment Bill is passed in Parliament, farmers will have to pay up to ₹2 lakh for electricity. This will push the farmers who are already crisis-ridden into further crisis. The poor families in rural areas who are getting free electricity in their households under various schemes such as Bhagya Jyothi will also have to pay for electricity,” Mr. Mamshetty said.
“Today’s agriculture is dependent on electricity. There are 25 lakh authorised irrigation pump-sets in the State. If you take into account the unauthorised ones, the number will cross the 40 lakh number. The government is offering subsidies for supplying electricity to these pump-sets,” he said.
He further said, “The Union government has been trying to pass the Electricity Amendment Bill since 2014 but it could not due to the consistent opposition from farmers. It was one of the issues of the farmers movement on the Delhi border and the government had agreed not to table the Bill during the fourth round of talks that it had with the agitating farmers. However, it betrayed the farmers by pushing it in Parliament.”
A memorandum with a list of demands was submitted to the Chief Minister through the Managing Director of GESCOM. The demands included stoppage of installation of prepaid metres for subsidised power connections under Bhagya Jyothi and irrigation pump-sets and supply of power for irrigation pump-sets for 12 hours during the day.