A delegation of Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) Punjab under the leadership of LoP Harpal Singh Cheema today met the Hon'able Governor of Punjab Sh.V.P.Singh Badnore to request him to put constitutional pressure on Capt Amarinder Singh Government to save sugarcane growers from the clutches of private sugar mill mafia.The AAP also presented a memorandum in this regard.The AAP delegation apprised the Hon'able Governor that the previous SAD-BJP government and the present Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh have been playing in the hands of sugar mill owners and failed to provide justice to sugarcane growers. In the current crushing season, the private sugar mill owners have refused to give state advisory price (SAP) of Rs.310 per quintal as recommended by the State Sugarcane Control Board and instead insisting to pay statuary price of Rs.275 per quintal fixed by center government.The sugar mill owners are conspiring to grab the difference of Rs.35 per quintal.Cheema requested the Governor to prevail upon the state government to traise the price of sugarcane to Rs.350 per quintal keeping in mind the highest VAT on diesel imposed by Punjab government, the low water level and high rates of machinery and labour.
The agriculture input cost in Punjab is higher than other states due to many factors. It is requested to make it mandatory for all the cooperative and private sugar mills to stick to SAP .AAP Memorandum said that private sugar mills are covering 70 percent of sugarcane crushing in the state. To end the monopoly of private millers, the state government be directed to raise the crushing capacity of cooperative sugar mills and bring transparency and accountability in the working of private mills. It is pleaded to liberate sugarcane growers from the ‘parchi’ mafia of private sugar mills and bound private and cooperative sugar mills for specific area.It further stated that to protect the rights of sugarcane growers, it is desired to implement the sugarcane act strictly and make suitable amendments in it to curb dictatorship of private mill owners.The payment of sugarcane be made compulsory within 15 days of supply to mill and farmers be paid interest over their money if payment is delayed beyond specified period.The additional recovery price be paid within one month of crushing season is over. Strict monitoring is required to check sugar recovery rate and prevent frauds.Memorandum stated that Sugarcane growers have arrears of Rs.417 crores towards sugar mills and it is requested to make this payment immediately.
The private mills owe Rs.225 crores out of total arrears. If the payments are not cleared during this season, there will be no guarantee of payment in future. If private mills are not able to pay the pending amount, these mills be taken over by cooperative department. The non-payment of arrears would break the sugarcane growers and it will be disaster for the farming community.The private mills should be asked to strictly follow the dates for starting crushing of sugarcane, otherwise their licenses shall be cancelled.Other members of the delegation were Principal Budh Ram MLA and Chairman Core Committee, Prof.Sadhu Singh MP, Dr.Balbir Singh Co-President Sarabjit Kaur Manuke Deputy LoP, Aman Arora , Prof.Baljinder Kaur, Rupinder Kaur Ruby, Manjit Singh Bilaspur, Gurmit Singh Meet Hayer, Amarjit Singh Sandoa Kulwant Singh Pandori (AAL MLAs), Kuldip Singh Dhaliwal, Narinder Singh Shergill, Dr.Ravjot Singh, Dalbir Singh Dhillon , Gurdit Singh Sekhon,Zameel-Ur.Rehman, Sukhwinder Sukhi, Manjit Singh Sidhu state media in charge and member core committee, Sherry Kalsi district president Gurdaspur and Dr.K.V.Singh.