Sanjiv Kumar Bakshi
Mukerian (Hoshiarpur), December 1
Under the banner of the Joint Sugarcane Struggle Committee, various farmer organisations of Doaba and Majha on Friday staged a protest in front of a sugar mill in Mukerian against the Punjab Government.
Won’t budge until demands met
Protesting farmers said the increase in the price of sugarcane by Rs 11 per quintal was a cruel joke on them. They demanded the price of sugarcane be increased to Rs 450 per quintal. They made it clear to the government that the protest will continue until their demands were met.
Raising slogans against the state government, protesters demanded the sugar mill be made functional immediately and the prices of sugarcane hiked substantially. Farmers blocked the Jalandhar-Jammu National Highway by parking trolleys full of sugarcane.
In the morning, farmers reached outside the mill with more than 150 trolleys full of sugarcane. Addressing the gathering, farmer leaders Satnam Singh Bagadian, Gurpratap Singh, Sonu Aulakh, Surjit Singh Billa and others said the AAP government had been continuously breaking its promises to the farmers.
They said 238 variety of sugarcane is sown in Punjab. This year farmers have incurred huge losses due to the red rot disease in this variety of sugarcane. The government had said compensation would be given to the farmers. But now the government was retracting. Earlier, the mills used to run in November, but even at the beginning of December this year, the Punjab Government has not yet issued a notification to run sugar mills in Punjab, they added.
Even if the notice is issued now, it may take five to six days to start the mills due to which farmers will suffer further losses as they will not be able to sow wheat on time.
They said the total cost of production of sugarcane which was accepted by the government in the recent meeting with farmers was Rs 470 per quintal. Earlier, the Aam Aadmi Party used to say that if we assumed power, the price they would give Rs 50 per quintal above the cost, but now they were running away from it. They said the AAP government was formed with the support of farmer, and labourers but instead of finding a solution to the problems and demands of the farmers, it was making false statements against them and forcing them to protest.
They said the increase in the price of sugarcane by Rs 11 per quintal was a cruel joke on them, which will not be accepted at any cost. The protesters demanded from the government that the price of sugarcane should be increased to Rs 450 per quintal. They warned that the protest will continue until their demands were met.
The meeting of farmers with Deputy Commissioner Komal Mittal and SSP Surendra Lamba, who had reached the spot, remained inconclusive. The protest was continuing till the time of writing the news.
Farmer leaders Gurnam Singh Jahanpur, Saurav Manhas Billa, Sukhpal Singh Daffar, Amarjeet Singh, Sham Singh Shama, Avtar Singh Bobby, Kamalpreet Singh Aunty Harsulindra Singh, Parminder Singh Khalsa, Gurpreet Singh, Malkit Singh, Raju Aulakh, Manjeet Singh, Balwinder Singh, Raju, Sukha Musahibpur, Jangbir Singh, Harjeet Singh, Babbi Ghasitpur, Amarjeet Singh and a large number of other farmers were present on the occasion.
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