Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal Saturday said that the SAD-BSP alliance was committed to safeguard the interests of the farming community and, if voted to power, it would pass an Act making it mandatory for sugar mills to pay sugarcane growers their dues in a time-bound manner.
The SAD president, who addressed public meetings at several places in this constituency, said he had received widespread complaints that sugar mills were not paying farmers their dues for sometimes as long as one year.
“This is not acceptable”, he said adding the new Act would have a provision of registration of a cognizable offence against mill owners not paying dues to farmers within three months of crushing their cane.
Sukhbir also asked CM Charanjit Channi to ensure sugarcane growers received the State Assured Price (SAP) of Rs 360 per quintal notified by the state government. He said that despite the announcement of the SAP, sugar mills were not bonding sugarcane crops at this price.
“The government must ensure this price does not remain on paper only,” he said.
People in Mukerian, where the SAD president canvassed for party candidate Sarabjot Sabi, complained about rampant illegal mining going in the constituency.
Badal said he was aware of the prevailing nexus and had witnessed it first hand when he had toured the area in July this year.
People also disclosed that despite the tall promise of the chief minister of sand being made available at Rs 5.50 per cubic feet, it was actually available at more that Rs 20 per cubic feet.
Badal slammed the Congress government for closing down mandis when the entire paddy crop had not been procured by government agencies.
He said lakhs of tonnes of paddy would not be procured due to this anti- farmer decision, saying the Channi government was following the agenda of the central government which wanted to curtail paddy purchase drastically. He also slammed the government for failing to ensure smooth supply of DAP fertiliser to the people besides failing to stop its black marketing.
Before starting the tour of Mukerian Assembly constituency the SAD president was received by a group of hundreds of passionate young motorcyclists who escorted him throughout the city.
After paying a floral tribute to Maharana Partap Singh, he announced the installation of a huge statue of the legendary warrior. He also paid obeisance at the Kalota temple.