Now, Sidhu targets Amarinder govt. over sugarcane prices

‘It’s too low in comparison to neighbouring States of U.P., Uttarakhand and Haryana’

August 24, 2021 12:41 am | Updated 12:41 am IST - CHANDIGARH

Newly appointed Punjab Congress party president Navjot Singh Sidhu (C) visits the Golden Temple in Amritsar on July 21, 2021. (Photo by NARINDER NANU / AFP)

Newly appointed Punjab Congress party president Navjot Singh Sidhu (C) visits the Golden Temple in Amritsar on July 21, 2021. (Photo by NARINDER NANU / AFP)

As the farmers continued their protest against the Congress government in Punjab’s Jalandhar, demanding rise in State Assured Price (SAP) for sugarcane, party’s State chief Navjot Singh Sidhu said the SAP in Punjab is too low in comparison to neighbouring States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Haryana.

Notably, all these three States are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Mr. Sidhu’s remark is being seen as another attack on Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, indicating that ongoing turmoil within the Congress party is far from over. Both the leaders have been at loggerheads since long.

“The sugarcane farmers issue needs to be immediately resolved amicably …. Strange that despite the higher cost of cultivation in Punjab the state assured price is too low as compared to Haryana / U.P. / Uttarakhand. As torchbearer of agriculture, the Punjab SAP should be better !,” said Mr Sidhu in a tweet.

Sugarcane farmers from various regions of Punjab have been on an indefinite protest since August 20 on a national highway at Jalandhar, near Dhanowali, blocking the national highway and a railway line, resulting in disruption of vehicular traffic and railway movement.

Farmer leader Manjeet Sing Rai said farmers union leaders and representatives from the Cane Commissioner’s office and agriculture university experts held a meeting in the Jalandhar on Monday. “We are demanding ₹400 per quintal as SAP for sugarcane. Tomorrow (August 24) Chief Minister is expected to announce a decision on the issue. We will continue our ongoing protest until our demands are met,” he said.

Earlier talks with the State government representatives on August 22 it did not result in any concrete outcome.

‘We are anguished’

“We are anguished because the State government has been speaking about diversification of crops without adequate support to farmers who are attempting such diversification. The State government has kept its assured prices very low compared to neighboring Haryana, besides the arrears of previous years have not been paid by sugarcane mills so far,” he said.

Punjab government had last week announced an increase of ₹15 per quintal in the SAP for all sugarcane varieties for the crushing season, 2021-22. The SAP of sugarcane is ₹325 for early variety.

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