August 13, 2016 3:57:10 am
EVEN AS less then three months remain for the next cane crushing season in Punjab to begin, the state is yet to clear dues of Rs 226 crore pending for the previous season, sugarcane farmers said Friday. Cane farmers under ‘Punjab Pagri Sambhal Jatta’, which is affiliated to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and ‘Doaba Sangharash Committee’ have decided to block the National Highway and also stage ‘rail roko’ on August 29 if the dues were not cleared by August 26.
They said that this was their “final ultimatum” to the government.
Representatives of both the farmers’ organisations and farmers of many parts of Doaba, Majha and Malwa regions met Friday at Phagwara where a large number of cane growers under Phagwara based Wahid-Sandhar Sugar Mill were present. They also submitted a memorandum at the sub-divisional magistrate office, Phagwara.
The rate of cane in Punjab was fixed at Rs 295 per quintal by the Punjab government and the 16 sugar mills – nine private and seven co-operative mills – had to pay Rs 245 per quintal to the farmers and remaining Rs 50 was to be paid by the government. Even the government had issued notification pertaining to this on November 23, 2015 and the notification number was 3715.
Kamaljit Singh Kaki, president of Pagri Sambhal Jatta, said farmers have received the payment from the mill at the rate of Rs 245 per quintal and reaming Rs 50 per quintal were not cleared by government yet. “The government made payments till January month while the cane crushing ended in April and three months’ pending amount is Rs 226 crore,” said he.
Kaki also alleged that the government, which had encouraged cane variety-CO 0238- earlier, is now cheating farmers and has decided to crush it in the last while it comes under early varieties and 95 per cent farmers of the state are growing it.
“If the government does this, every farmer will face loss of Rs 6,000-7,000 per acre,” he added. This is Haryana state variety and now government want to discourage this one of the best varieties, said another farmer Kuldip Singh, the member of Doaba Sangharsh Committee, adding that Rs 17.92 crore of Phagwara mill cane growers is laying pending towards government.
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