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Marginal hike upsets sugarcane farmers

PANKAJ DHIMAN | Chandigarh |

Punjab farmers have criticised the state government’s decision on Monday to hike sugarcane prices by just Rs 10, from Rs 300 to Rs 310 per quintal.

They said the government’s move was only an eyewash as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh were already giving much higher prices on sugarcane purchase. The Punjab government has fixed maximum State Agreed Price (SAP) of sugarcane as Rs 310. “Haryana has fixed SAP at Rs 330 while it is Rs 315 in Uttar Pradesh. However, in Punjab it’s between Rs 285 and Rs 310, which is an injustice with our farmers,” Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Balbir Singh Rajewal told The Statesman.

He demanded that the sugarcane SAP be fixed at Rs 350 in the state. He said the farmers will gather to discuss the issue on 1 December. “I fail to understand whether the CM is with sugar mill lobby or with farmers. Just Rs 10 hike in SAP is not acceptable. The quality of our sugarcane is not less than that of any other state. The price should be revised or we will be forced to take action against government”, said Rajewal. Various farmer outfits protesting against sugarcane prices in Mohali were stopped by police at Mohali-Chandigarh border.

The cabinet decided to increase SAP of sugarcane from Rs 300 to Rs 310 for early variety, Rs 290 to Rs 300 for mid variety and Rs 285 to Rs 295 per quintal for late variety at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday morning.

The hike, in line with the increase given by Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, was estimated to put an additional burden of Rs 20 crore on the state exchequer, said an official spokesperson.