ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved PC-1 of a three years agriculture tubewells solarisation programme at Rs377.236 billion.
The Ministry of Planning and Development in a summary informed the ECNEC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar that Prime Minister’s National Programme for Solarisation Agriculture tube wells project is sponsored by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research with the main objective to enhance agriculture productivity through clean and green energy by convening the existing 100,000 tube-wells (50,000 diesel and 50,000 electric power) into solar PV system in three years.
The cost will be shared by the federal, and provincial governments and beneficiary farmers at a ratio of 33 per cent. It will help the farmers to reduce their cost of production by saving the cost of diesel electricity.
The provincial physical targets depend upon the provincial consent, largely be governed by the existing provincial relevant policies and availability of resources, farmer’s demand, and availability of suitable sites.
The provincial governments willing to participate in the prime minister’s programme will submit their component PC-Is duly approved by competent development Forums in line with this PC-I. The provincial component shall bear all the necessary operational charges; however, the federal government will assist in the one-third cost of solarisation.
The solar system exactly matching the power requirement of the pump/submersible-pump shall be provided to the fanners. The availability of sufficient cultivable land and good-quality water groundwater recharge zones and the selection of the sites will be the responsibility of the respective provincial departments.
The meeting was also informed that a detailed groundwater investigation including an electric resistivity survey (ERS) of all proposed sites will be additionally done by the project consultant(s). It will be executed on a first-come-first-serve basis, regarding the allocation of physical targets.
The project would preferably involve the installation of the solar system on existing tubewells but the cost of the bore, column pipe/casing, etc, and any civil work for top finishing of the borehole will not be supported by the project.
If there is demand for solarisation of new intended tube wells, this would be subject to the decision of the competent forum, keeping in view the existing no of applications/demand and the priority to be given to existing tube wells.
The PSDP allocation (financial year 2023-24) Rs30 billion and sector issues including the relationship of the project with them included a slow rate of technological innovations and adoption which needs to be incentivised and limited adoption of progressive farming techniques including HEIS, RD and nano-technology, etc.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023