Kusum Arora, Jalandhar, November 14, Sugarcane farmers to block NH-1 and stop trains, demand Rs 350 per quintal for crop : If you were planning to commute via National Highway-1 (NH-1) ie the highly busy stretch of Jalandhar-Phagwara highway connecting with national capital Delhi, then plan an alternate route, as sugarcane farmers would block the NH-1 on Wednesday demanding Rs 350 per quintal for their crop. Following a call for protest by Doaba Kisan Sangharsh Committee, the farmers would not only block NH-1 but also block trains, as Punjab government failed to provide Rs 350 per quintal State Assured Price (SAP) for sugarcane crop in the state.A meeting in this regard was held between Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma and Manjit Singh Rai, the state president of the committee on Tuesday evening, which proved futile. The farmers said that they would bring along their families and children to lodge a protest against the Punjab government. Manjit Singh Rai said that the farmers supported by around 10 farmer unions would hold protest on NH-1 against the state government. While Haryana government was providing Rs 330 per quintal SAP to cane farmers, Punjab government has ruined them in the last 10 years.He said that the congress government was toeing the line of sugar mill owners while sugarcane farmers were left in economic crisis. “For the last five years, sugarcane was priced at Rs 290 to Rs 300 per quintal in Punjab. The state government did not to bother to increase the sugarcane prices, even as the neighbouring state of Haryana has already enhanced the sugarcane price to Rs 330 per quintal before the start of 2017-18 season”, the farmers said.The committee members also highlighted that thesugar mills owe Rs 70 crore to the sugarcane farmers. He said that the Punjab government was quick in issuing a notification on setting up of new sugar mills in the state but ignored the need to increase the price of the crop.
Rai said that farmers were committing suicides in Punjab but the congress government under the leadership of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder has turned a blind eye towards the demand of sugarcane farmers. The farmers also demanded that Swaminathan Commission report should also be implemented in letter and spirit.
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