The Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led Punjab Government stands fully committed to spare no effort for ensuring welfare and prosperity of the farming community of the State. As part of this, it is the firm resolve of the State Government to adopt zero tolerance policy towards exploitation of Sugarcane farmers by the private mill owners.
These views were expressed here today by the Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal at the Municipal Bhawan in Sector 35 during a meeting with the leaders of the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha. He said that the owners of the private mills would be asked to ensure timely payments to the farmers and in case of non compliance, the mill would have to shut shop.
The Minister further said that there would no shortage of Sugarcane in the State even if the Government itself has to run the mills.Disclosing the farmer friendly measures, the Minister pointed out that as far as the due payment worth Rs. 300 crore of Sugarcane farmers towards the Cooperative mills is concerned, it would be released in three installments.
The first installment of Rs. 100 crore would be released by July 30, second installment of Rs. 100 crore by August 30 while the third installment of the same amount would be paid by September 15. "The State Government is in the process of equipping the sugar mills with the state of the art machinery and as part of this strategy, the mills at Batala and Gurdaspur are being modernized with installation of new equipment", said Mr. Dhaliwal.
Divulging more, the Minister said that the Government constituted teams had visited the 730 spots in the cotton belt of Sri Muktsar Sahib, Bathinda and Barnala where the onslaught of whitefly had damaged the crops. The teams would visit again on July 28 to assess the damage. The Minister also added that in case somebody is found selling the spurious seeds and pesticides to the farmers, stringent action would be taken.
Reiterating that the Chief Minister has always kept the interests of farmers uppermost in his mind, the Minister said that the Chief Minister has today itself written a letter to the Government of India protesting against the exclusion of Punjab from the committee formed on the MSP issue.
The Minister assured that he would emphatically take up the issue of the cases registered against the farmers during the farmers agitation besides ensuring jobs to the next of Kin of martyred farmers with the Chief Minister. The Minister exhorted the farmers to join hands with the Government in order to save the precious resource i.e. water.
Among others present on the occasion included Special Chief Secretary (Cooperation) Ravneet Kaur, ACS (Agriculture and Farmers Welfare) Sarvjit Singh, Director Agriculture Gurvinder Singh and officers of the department apart from the farmers' leaders.