New Delhi: The Winter session of Parliament got off to a chaotic start Thursday with the Lok Sabha being adjourned for the day as the entire opposition united to stage noisy protests against the new sugarcane pricing policy.
The house was first adjourned till 12 noon when opposition members, led by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, gathered near Speaker Meira Kumar's podium to demand a withdrawal of the sugarcane pricing order.
The same scenes were repeated when the house met again with opposition MPs creating a ruckus, shouting slogans like 'kisanon ka loot band karo' (stop looting farmers).
All opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), joined in the protest spearheaded by the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal of Ajit Singh.
Opposition MPs started the uproar soon after three new members of the house took oath of office -- nominated Anglo Indian members Charles Dias and Ingrid McLeod as well as Congress' Raj Babbar who has been elected from Firozabad.
There were obituary references to nine former members. The speaker also condemned the recent brutal Maoist attacks in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli and Chhattisgarh's Bastar regions.
Besides, the house also condoled the deaths of the people in railway accidents and in the boat accident in Kerala's Thekkady lake in which 45 people were killed.
The protest over sugarcane prices coincides with farmers from Uttar Pradesh gathering here to march from Ramlila Ground to Parliament.
The central government has announced a price of Rs.129.85 per quintal for sugarcane during the 2009-10 crushing season under the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) system, while the Uttar Pradesh State Advisory Price (SAP) has been set between Rs.165 and Rs.170 per quintal.
In case a state government fixes SAP higher than the FRP, it will have to pay the difference.
Farmers want Rs.280 per quintal for their produce.
Ajit Singh said: "Sugarcane farming in Uttar Pradesh is dependent totally on diesel and the price of diesel is touching the sky. In such a scenario if the farmers do not get an adequate price for their produce, the agitation is completely justified."
"Uttar Pradesh provides 40 percent of the total sugar in the country," he added.
First Published: Thursday, November 19, 2009, 14:35