Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday expressed solidarity with the protesting sugarcane farmers and urged the Punjab Government to increase the State Assured Price (SAP) of sugarcane to a minimum of Rs 380 per quintal. He also called for clearing the pending payments of cane growers.
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said if the Congress-led Punjab Government failed to do justice to sugarcane growers, the SAD-BSP alliance, if voted to power, would raise the SAP to a minimum of Rs 380 per quintal. “We will include this commitment in our election manifesto also”, he added.
In a statement issued here, the SAD president alleged that it was shocking that after refusing to increase the SAP for sugarcane for four years, the Punjab Government had affected a measly Rs 15 per quintal increase towards the fag end of its tenure.
“This amounts to betraying both sugarcane growers as well as the cause of diversification. The government has sprinkled salt on the wounds of the cane growers through this callous and insensitive act”, he alleged.
Sukhbir Singh Badal said had the government hiked the sugarcane price by a minimum of Rs 20 per year, the SAP this year would have been at least Rs 380. “Not doing so has caused a loss of Rs 1,000 crore to Punjab farmers”, he said adding the neighbouring Haryana government was giving a SAP of Rs 358 per quintal, which was Rs 30 to Rs 40 more per quintal”.
He said the loss was much more if the interest quotient on the late payments as well as high State VAT on diesel was also taken into consideration.