New Delhi: The Delhi government possesses consent from farmers across nine villages within the north-western peripheries of the town for fixing solar plants in 225 acres of agricultural land under a long-awaited scheme that aims to enhance the Capital’s power production and contribute to income of farmers.

“We have got consent for 225 acres of agriculture land where solar plants can be set up. The lands are located at villages in areas like Alipur, Lampur and Narela. The project has been given a plow ahead and tenders are going to be issued soon. We aim to launch the project this year,” said a senior government official.

In July 2018, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi had announced the Mukhyamantri Kisan Aay Badhotri Yojana – a scheme to increase income of farmers by setting up solar plants in their agriculture land, which might also enhance power production within the Capital.

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Under the scheme, farmers would be ready to continue with agriculture even after the facility plants are found out because the solar panels to be installed would be installed at a minimum height of 3.5 metres from the ground, allowing for farming activities, tractors to ply on the fields and other agriculture-related machinery to be used.

The farmers would be paid ₹1 lakh per acre a year, and therefore the rent would increase by 6% compounded annually. Once allowed, the plant would exist for 25 years. The farmers would also get 1,000 units of energy produced by the plant annually for each acre they hire out for the project, the official said.

However, the scheme is yet to formally kick off.

According to the government’s statistical handbook of Delhi, the total area under agriculture in the national capital is 34,750 hectares, which roughly translates to 85,870 acres. “But most of the land is scattered which clothed to be an enormous problem for implementing the project,” said the official who didn’t wish to be identified.

According to government estimates, a full six acres are going to be needed for setting a 1 MW [or, 1000 kW] solar plant, which might be capable of generating over 1.2 million units of electricity annually, under the scheme.

On engaging with farmers for quite a year after the scheme was announced, the govt also realised that there have been concerns. “The most common one being whether the land would lose fertility, or if yield would reduce after the solar panels are installed. This, they assumed, would deprive the land of direct sunlight,” the government official said.

In January 2020, the govt found out a demo of the project at the campus of an agriculture institute in Kirari, located within the western peripheries of Delhi. Even though the government had got consent for 150 acres of land by then, the project faced delays because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Source:- Hindustan Times