Chandigarh, Jan 22 (PTI) A farmers' outfit has claimed that its meeting held here on Sunday evening with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on the peasants' demand for a hike in sugarcane prices failed to yield any result.
The meeting was held with a delegation of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU).
"The government expressed its inability to raise sugarcane prices. During the 90-minute meeting, we told the Chief Minister Khattar and Agriculture Minister J P Dalal to increase cane prices as there was inflation. But the chief minister said a committee has been set up already and on the basis of its report, a decision will be taken," BKU leader Rattan Mann said after the meeting.
"We told the government that there is no need of committee..," he added.
In an official statement issued later, Khattar assured the delegation of farmers who came to meet him at his official residence that his government would soon take a decision in the best public interest.
Crushing operations at sugar mills have come to a halt as protesting farmers on Saturday stopped the supply of sugarcane by locking the main entrances of the 14 mills in the state. They are demanding a hike in the sugarcane's state advised price from Rs 362 to Rs 450 per quintal.
Mann said the agitation will continue and later this month, the issue will be raised at a panchayat of various farmers' outfit in Jind. On June 29, when Union Home Minister Amit Shah is scheduled to visit Gohana in Sonipat, farmers will try to raise the issue there as well, he added.
According to the official statement, the state government has constituted a committee to fix the price of sugarcane.
A decision will be taken by the committee keeping in view all the points raised by the farmers, including the price of sugarcane in neighbouring states, and other important demands of the farmers, said Khattar.
He urged the farmers not to adopt the path of agitation, saying the closure of sugar mills is neither in the interest of the farmers nor the mills.
"Let the sugar mills run smoothly as the closing of mills is not going to benefit anyone," the chief minister said.
Khattar asked the farmers not to get misled by anyone in any way.
"The state government has always stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the farmers. In the last eight years, we have continuously started new schemes in the interest of farmers. The committee constituted by the state government will look into the demands of the sugarcane farmers and take appropriate decision, which will be beneficial for all in the long run," he said.
Supporting the demands of the sugarcane farmers, Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, "The farmers are demanding a rate of Rs 450 per quintal. The Haryana government should at least give them the same rate as that of Punjab (Rs 380)." Hooda added that during the previous Congress government, there was a record increase of 165 per cent in the rate of sugarcane, while during the BJP regime, it was increased by only 17 per cent. PTI SUN IJT