As sugarcane farmers in western Uttar Pradesh blocked road and rail traffic and resorted to dharna and demonstration, demanding a price of Rs. 280 per quintal, the State government shifted the onus on the Centre, claiming that the agitation was against the Fair and Remunerative Price declared by the Centre.

Defending the decision on the State Advised Price (SAP) of Rs.170, Rs.165 and Rs.162.50 per quintal, Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said here on Monday that a mutually agreeable price would be worked out with the approval of the farmers and mill owners, with the government acting as a facilitator. “SAP is the minimum and not the maximum price,” he told journalists, thus indicating that the SAP would not be increased. . Mr. Singh said Chief Minister Mayawati had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him to reconsider the decision on FRP. The Cabinet Secretary regretted that no positive steps had been taken by the Centre to redress the situation.

Referring to the meeting of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar with the mill owners in New Delhi on Tuesday, Mr. Singh said it is likely that some solution will emerge.

Meanwhile, the bandh call in western Uttar Pradesh given by the RLD in support of the demand of the cane growers was a success, said a party release. There were reports of farmers agitating in Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Hathras, Mathura, Bulandshahr and Saharanpur.