Ajit Singh to hold panchayat of sugarcane farmers
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Last Updated: Sunday, November 29, 2009, 20:18
New Delhi: Even as the Centre decided to withdraw the sugarcane ordinance, RLD chief Ajit Singh today said he will hold a panchayat of cane farmers in Shamli on Monday to discuss the lack of uniformity in prices being offered by sugar mill owners to them in Uttar Pradesh.

"Though Centre had withdrawn the Ordinance after we stalled parliamentary proceedings for the first two days of the ongoing winter session, sugarcane farmers are still not getting adequate prices for their produce from sugar mill owners. We are holding a panchayat with farmers tomorrow in Shamli (UP) to review the situation," he told reporters here.

He said one mill in Moradabad has started giving more than Rs 205 to farmers as there is inadequate supply of sugarcane this year. However, in rest of the state, farmers are getting much less than Rs 200. "Our contention is that if one mill has started giving this kind of amount, then others too should give this kind of price to farmers," he said.

The Ordinance brought in late last month had suggested that only Centre will fix the price for sugarcane called fair and remunerative price (FRP) and that the difference between state advised price (SAP, which is given by state governments to farmers) and FRP (which is lesser than SAP) would have to be paid by state governments.

After all the opposition parties united against the Ordinance and stalled the Parliament for two days, the Centre withdrew it and reinstalled SAP. It also announced that the difference between FRP and SAP will have to be paid by mill owners and not the state governments.

However, there is no uniformity in prices being offered to farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Singh claimed.

He had in fact threatened to intensify his agitation in the state on November 26 over the issue, if the UP government did not increase the SAP. He later withdrew it after the SAP was marginally increased to Rs 190 by UP government.

Meanwhile, Singh added that after tomorrow's panchayat, he will hold a meeting of his party workers in Meerut on Tuesday to decide his future strategy on the issue.

"I will hold a meeting of party workers in Meerut on December 1 to decide on our future strategy. If one mill can offer a competitive price to sugarcane farmers, then other mill owners will also have to follow suit," he said.

Singh said that mill owners should talk to farmers on the price issue and come out with a price which is commensurate with what sugarcane farmers are getting in neighbouring states like Haryana, Punjab and even Uttarakhand.

"Even the UP government should act as a mediator and initiate mediation between mill owners and farmers," he added.

On being asked whether RLD was planning to form a front on the issue with other parties like TDP and SP, considering he has held parleys with both TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav in recent times, he refused to comment.

"I have not spoken to anybody as of now," he said.


First Published: Sunday, November 29, 2009, 20:18

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