He said the Solapur initiative will give an immense fillip to his Ministry’s efforts to cut down on energy consumption by the heavily subsidised farm sector. In effect, it will showcase what can be achieved at the national level by saving Rs 25.2 crore over the following year against a capital outlay of Rs 15.66 crore in Solapur. Saurabh Kumar, Secretary, Bureau of Energy Efficiency — the agency that is spearheading the mission — says the estimated cost of Rs 70,000 crore isn’t as scary as it sounds. “We are talking about saving power being given to farmers at hugely subsidised rates. Of the 700 billion units presently consumed in the country, around 200 billion units goes to the agri sector. At Rs 3 per unit, we are talking of an annual saving of Rs 18,000 crore. So in four years we are in the black. Therefore, the five-year rollout is feasible,” he said.
The immediate plan is to conduct an energy audit over the next 12-15 weeks, a job that has been entrusted to MITCON Consultancy Services Ltd, Pune. “Once we get the DPR, it will be time to spin it off for bidding. But there are two riders: the agri-feeder will have to be separated and it will be possible only in five states with high voltage distribution systems in place — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana,” Kumar said. It will require the active participation of state power utilities. “Our survey will include evaluation of power consumption of the existing pumps, overall pumping efficiency and their recommendation for the best energy efficient pumps. Replacement of existing pumps, quantifying energy savings, cost of replacement and pay back analysis will also be part of the survey. Then the DPR will be placed for bidding by companies,” said Deepak Zade, Executive VicePresident, MITCON.
Ravindra Murthy, Vice-President, Kirloskar Brothers, said: “In the next 6-8 weeks, we should be tying up with all the agencies involved. We can manufacture one lakh pumps a year but there won’t be any dearth of manufacturers once things are finalised. As per the scheme, we will take the old pumps for scrapping.”