As many as 1,210 solar pumps for irrigation have been installed across Himachal Pradesh to meet a five-year target of installing 5,850 pumps, said officials on Sunday. For this the state has allocated a budgetary provision of Rs 200 crore.
At present, 1,189.71 hectares have been brought under the solar scheme benefiting 2,066 farmers, a government statement added.
Kangra tops among the 15 districts with the installation of 570 solar pumps, followed by Mandi 406, Una 268, Shimla 165, Chamba 144, Hamirpur 131, Sirmaur 108, Kullu 73, Lahaul-Spit 71, Bilaspur 66, Solan 51 and Kinnaur 13.
Under the Solar Irrigation scheme, infrastructure is being established to lift water by the solar pumps. 90 per cent assistance is being provided to small and marginal farmers for individually installing pumping machinery. A provision of 80 per cent assistance is also made for middle or big farmers.
However, for the installation of pumping machinery at community level, 100 per cent expenditure is being borne by the government for farmers of all categories.
The Centre’s ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahabhiyan’ (PM-KUSUM) scheme has been implemented in the state to provide irrigation facility to the farmers, enabling them to grow more cash crops for increasing their income.
The scheme aims at providing reliable irrigation facility to the farmers, especially in remote areas where there is no availability of electricity to lift water for irrigation.
Under this scheme, a provision of 85 per cent financial assistance for pumping machinery has been made for setting up solar pumps at individual and community level by the farmers.
In the current fiscal Rs 12 crore have been earmarked for the project. A target of setting up 1,000 solar pumps for this year will be met, with 50 per cent expenditure borne by the Centre and 35 per cent by the state. 15 per cent would be borne by the beneficiary.
More than 80 per cent horticultural and agricultural activities in the hill state are rain-fed.
Himachal Pradesh also sought investments from the US in horticulture, health and other industries.
A similar project on ‘solar-based water integrated multi-Village supply‘ was earlier launched in Arunachal Pradesh.