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Punjab govt hikes sugarcane price by Rs 11 per quintal to Rs 391

Chandigarh/Hoshiarpur, Dec 1 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Friday hiked the sugarcane price by Rs 11 per quintal, saying the new rate of Rs 391 a quintal is the highest in the country.

However, farmers said the appreciation in cane price is “meagre” and termed the state government’s move as a “betrayal”.

The price hike came days after the chief minister assured farmers of “good news” in the coming days.

“With an increase of Rs 11, the new rate will be Rs 391 per quintal, which will be the highest in the country,” Mann said in a post on social media platform X.

According to an official statement issued later, Mann said in Punjab Rs 11 is considered a ‘shubh shagun’ (good omen) so his government has given this gift to the farmers.

Mann further said that he has fulfilled the promise he had made during his recent meeting with the farmers.

The Chief Minister said that all the cooperative and private sugar mills in the state will run their operations as per the revised rates from December 2 so that benefits will be ensured to every farmer from the first day.

Earlier, farmers held protests demanding an increase in sugarcane price from Rs 380 per quintal to Rs 450 per quintal.

“The hike in price is too meagre. It is a betrayal to farmers. We are not happy with the price increase,” Rai said. He said that the cane prices should be increased “as promised to us”.

“During our meeting with the chief minister in Chandigarh last week, he had said Haryana has recently increased cane prices by Rs 14 per quintal and had assured that Punjab’s increase will be by more than Rs 14 per quintal. So, we were expecting the hike to be at least Rs 400 plus,” Rai said.

He said farmers will again be forced to protest if the government does not hike cane prices “as promised”. They have also demanded that the sugar mills in the state should be made operational immediately.

Meanwhile, members of various farmers’ organizations in Doaba zone, led by Gurnam Singh, staged a dharna and blocked vehicular traffic at Dugri Chowk near Mukerian Sugar Mill, about 65 kilometres from Hoshiarpur on Jalandhar-Pathankot GT road on Friday.

Singh said that the protest was in response to the “non-operation” of sugar mills in the state and dissatisfaction with the “meagre hike” in the sugarcane prices.

The protesters gathered in front of Sugar Mill Mukerian in the afternoon and staged a dharna. Later, they moved to Dugri Chowk and blocked vehicular traffic by parking tractor-trailers across the road.

Hoshiarpur Deputy Commissioner Komal Mittal, who reached the protest spot, stated that vehicular traffic had been diverted on various alternative routes. Talks were underway with the farmers to clear the blockade and end their protest, she said.

Gurnam Singh said the farmers in the Mukerian belt, who suffered heavy losses due to floods during the rainy season this year, are still awaiting compensation for their damaged property, including crops. The floods had damaged their standing sugarcane crop also, he said.

On Friday last week, farmers held a demonstration on a national highway in Jalandhar but decided to end their stir after Mann’s assurance.

“As far as increasing the rate of sugarcane goes, Punjab has always been ahead,” Mann had said last week.

Protestors under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha had blocked the Jalandhar-Phagwara section of the Jalandhar-New Delhi National Highway near Dhanowali village.

The strike ended on the fourth day after a meeting between farmer leaders and the chief minister.

Neighbouring state Haryana had last month announced a hike of Rs 14 in the sugarcane price to Rs 386 a quintal.

Meanwhile, as per the latest official statement, Mann said his government is committed towards the well being of every strata of society including the farmers, traders, weaker sections, employees and others.

The chief minister said in the coming days good news for other sections of the society will also be given so as to ensure that a ‘rangla (vibrant) Punjab’ is carved out.

The above news was originally posted on news.google.com

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