Chandigarh, Nov 24 (IANS) Facing protests by sugarcane growers, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday assured that the state government would continue to give them highest rate in the coming times.
Interacting with the media after meeting farmer unions here, he said the government has always been on top to provide rates to the sugarcane cultivators and now also this trend will be continued.
He said the government was giving Rs 380 per quintal as state agreed price (SAP) of the sugarcane, the highest in the country till Haryana had recently enhanced it to Rs 386 per quintal.
However, Mann said the government will soon give good news to the farmers by upward revision of this price, after having a meeting with sugarcane mill owners in the coming days.
The Chief Minister said for the first time in the history of the state his government has cleared all pending arrears of sugarcane farmers, which were inherited from the previous governments. He said the state has 16 sugar mills out of which nine are from the cooperative sector and the remaining ones are in the private sector.
Mann said only the payment from two private mills viz. Phagwara and Dhuri are pending, adding the wheels have been set in motion for recovering this money and paying it to the farmers after selling these properties.
He said his doors are open for dialogue with any section of society but harassment of the common man on pretext of protests is totally unacceptable. He said this trend needs to be checked so that the public do not face any sort of inconvenience due to the protests, adding it is heartening to learn that the farmer unions have given affirmative response to it.
Mann said it is a matter of pride and satisfaction that farmers have decided to lift the rail and road blockade in the larger public interest.
The Chief Minister also said that the state government has made all out efforts to check the menace of stubble burning in the state. He said it is strange to note that despite all efforts Punjab is being blamed for the deteriorating AQI index in the national capital.
The Chief Minister advocated incentivising the farmers for not burning the paddy straw and promotion of the crop diversification. He also cautioned the Union government to stop refraining from threatening the farmers to end the MSP regime on paddy.