Pump manufacturers from the city say they have little to cheer about the announcement in Union Budget that the central government would provide funds to 20 lakh farmers to set up solar pumps.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced in the Union Budget on February 1 that the Centre, under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM Kusum) scheme, would provide funds to 20 lakh farmers to set up stand-alone solar pumps.
However, pump manufacturers from the district, a hub which caters to around 55 per cent of the country’s pump demands, said the announcement has not made them smile. There are two reasons. One section of micro and small pump manufacturers say they would not be able to invest on changing their infrastructure to manufacture solar panels and getting licences to make solar pumps. Another section of pump manufacturers said the Centre’s announcement has certain technical specifications for solar pumps, which were not suitable.
There are around 3,000 micro, small and medium pump manufacturers in the district, president of Kovai Power Driven Pumps and Spares Manufacturers Association (KOPMA) K Maniraj said.
“It is difficult for small manufacturers who have been manufacturing electric pumps for more than seven decades now to invest and shift to making solar pumps. Only a very few big players would be able to do it,” he said.
Manufacturing solar pumps would need MSME units to get a licence from the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) and involve in R and D, which would also mean extra investments, he said. “If the Centre gives us subsidies for investing in technology and R and D, MSMEs can form a cluster and manufacture solar pumps,” he said.
Another view from industrialists was that manufacturers here had the capacity to make solar pumps, but the technical specifications given by the Centre were not suitable for them.