Rajasthan has been facing unscheduled power outages for a long time, and both the urban and rural population have been at the receiving end of it. The ruling government has been criticised by the citizens as well as the opposition for its mismanagement.
The state's Energy Minister BD Kalla, who recently visited Delhi to discuss the issue, said the crisis was because of the increased demand due to weak monsoon and disruption of coal supply.
Four thermal power plants were recently shut down because the Rajasthan Vidhyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RVUNL) could not clear the due of coal firms. With units shutting down, the DISCOMS are buying power from the power exchange to meet the requirement.
Solar Power Plant To The Rescue
But a farmer family from Jaipur has given a ray of hope for the citizens but setting up the first farm-based solar power plant. A resident of Bhaloji village near Kotputli town of Jaipur, Devkaran Yadav and his son Dr Amit Yadav have installed the plant on their 3.5-acre farmland, The New Indian Express reported.
They have taken the initiative under the Prime Minister's Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme. The family has undertaken the contract of 25 years with the Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Ltd.
The plant has generated handsome income for the family, approximately ₹4 lakh a month, and is the best way to put the uncultivated barren lands to use.
But they have also been the sufferers of inflated power bills that were incorrect and took a significant amount of time to rectify. It was at this moment when Amit realised the suffering of his family and people like him.
He started researching renewable sources of energy, their efficacy and so forth. Following this, he installed solar panels for an 11-KW plant at a cost of ₹ 2.5 lakh. He came across the KUSUM scheme and filled in the application to set up the plant in 2019.
Rough Patches On The Way
They inked a contract with the Centre last year. As several family members own the portions of the land, Amit had another task of convincing them. The relatives agreed on a condition that he would bear the risks associated with it.
The family then needed a hefty amount of ₹ 3.70 crore for the project. Devkaran put in ₹ 70 lakh from his retirement benefits and mortgaged some of the properties. "The scheme was new and involved risks. I also carried the huge psychological pressure that all my father's retirement money would be put to risk if we flopped," the media quoted Amit as saying.
Another obstacle was to get permission for the electricity supply to the power grid. Even after installing the plant, no nodal officer was appointed by the government to monitor it, which further delayed the family commission for a few months. Amit took cognisance of the matter and wrote to the Prime Minister, which led to a solution.
According to the report, the project cost ₹ 3.70 crore and is expected to generate ₹ 50 lakh annually for the Yadavs.