IEP Chandigarh, October 3
In a bid to provide much needed succour to the sugarcane farmers of the state, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday announced to increase the price of sugarcane to Rs. 380 per quintal from existing Rs. 360 per quintal.
Announcing this on the floor of Punjab Assembly, the Chief Minister said that the farmers will get an additional Rs. 20 per quintal under State Agreed Price (SAP) of sugarcane as compared to last year. He said that this will bring the price of sugarcane to Rs. 380 per quintal from the existing price of Rs.360 per quintal. With this decision, the state government will spend additional Rs. 200 crore annually to benefit the farmers.
Bhagwant Mann said that the farmers of the state eagerly want to adopt sugarcane crop under crop diversification, but they are hesitant for it due to lack of adequate price and timely payment of the crop. At present sugarcane is cultivated on just 1.25 lakh hectares of land in Punjab, while the total crushing capacity of sugar mills was around 2.50 lakh hectares. This is why the state government has decided to enhance the price to supplement the income of farmers.
Informing the house about the present status of the payments, Chief Minister said that the Cooperative Sugar Mills have already paid the entire dues of the farmers but two private sugar mills have not paid the dues yet. He informed that the owners of these mills have fled from the country adding that the state government has already initiated the process to confiscate their assets to pay the pending dues of the farmers.