In yet another attempt to overcome the setback caused to her government's ambitious expressway projects by the ongoing farmers' stir in western Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Mayawati on Friday stressed the need to open more avenues for augmenting the growers' income.

Ms. Mayawati said emphasis should not be on agriculture alone. Efforts should be made to promote animal husbandry, fisheries, sericulture, horticulture and milk production. The government was committed to ensuring that farmers were given remunerative prices for their produce.

Ms. Mayawati's directives came at a development review meeting here on Friday. Attended by the top officials, it was presided over by Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh.

Officials of Uttar Pradesh Rajya Kisan Mandi Parishad were asked to implement her directives, particularly those related to remunerative prices for farm produce and investment in agriculture. Ms. Mayawati expressed dissatisfaction with the functioning of milk cooperative societies. She said work related to strengthening of the milk societies should be expedited.

The Chief Minister also asked the officials to ensure that land disputes related to forest dwellers were solved in a time-bound manner. Delay in giving justice to them led to resentment among them.

Agitation continues

Meanwhile, the farmers' agitation in Tappal in Aligarh district continued on Friday. A kisan panchayat was addressed by Congress general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh Digvijay Singh and leader of the Congress Legislature Party Pramod Tiwari.

President of the Aligarh district unit of the party Girvar Sharma told The Hindu over phone from Tappal that the agitation would continue till the government agreed to their demand of compensation of Rs. 850 per square metre (given to Noida farmers) of land acquired for the Yamuna Expressway project.