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Sugarcane SMP up by Rs 5

New Delhi, December 19
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today announced a Rs 5 per quintal increase in the statutory minimum price (SMP) of sugarcane linked with the recovery of 8.5 per cent in view of the problems being faced by sugarcane farmers.

The SMP of sugarcane now becomes Rs 69.50 per quintal.

Intervening in a discussion in the Lok Sabha on problems of the sugarcane growers, Mr Vajpayee said with additional prices for higher recovery, the farmers stood to gain more.

The Prime Ministerís announcement followed a demand by various members that the sugarcane growers in the country, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, get adequate price for their produce.

The Uttar Pradesh Government has announced a price of Rs 95 per quintal but mills in the state are not paying the price after obtaining court order. Pointing to problems faced by farmers of Uttar Pradesh, Mr Vajpayee said the state government had also decided to suspend purchase tax, commission of society and entry tax. This would enable the millers to pay a higher price to the farmers for their produce by Rs 4.

With an increase in the SMP of Rs 5 and relaxation on taxes, the farmers of Uttar Pradesh stood to gain Rs 9 per quintal. He said on an average, the farmers were getting a price of Rs 74 and with the new concessions announced today, they would get a higher price.

He announced that the quota release mechanism would be strengthened so that the prices might not fall further. The government would also make efforts to stabilise prices in the open market, he added.

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