The drive to snap power supply to agriculture water pumps to recover dues worth ₹44,000 crore has been suspended by the government. State Energy Minister Nitin Raut on Tuesday told the Assembly that the government will resume power supply to agriculture pumps and suspend the power cut drive for the next three months.

Raut said that the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) is reeling under debt and is not able to recover the dues. “We had started the drive to cut power supply to defaulter farmers, but considering the demand made by farmers and all party leaders the government will resume power supply and suspend the drive for the next three months till farmers harvest ( rabi) crop,” said Raut.

He added that all efforts by the government to launch an amnesty scheme and recover dues have failed as farmers have not responded to the scheme. “Consumers including domestic and commercial electricity users, local governing bodies, and farmers owe the MSEDCL ₹64,000 crore. The MSEDCL is facing major problems to purchase power from power companies,” said Raut.

The Minister claimed that the BJP government headed by Devendra Fadnavis (2014-19) didn’t send electricity bills to farmers and hence the dues piled up and farmers are finding it difficult to pay the amount.

Farmers’ agitation 

Farmers across the State had launched agitations against the State government’s drive to snap power supply to water pumps. Farmers’ organisations had demanded immediate withdrawal of the drive as it was affecting rabi cultivation.

Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said that the government is creating trouble for farmers who are already suffering due to various calamities. State Congress President Nana Patole had demanded that government must not continue the drive considering the anger among farmers.

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