Chandigarh, Jan 25 (IANS) Facing protest by the farmers, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday announced a hike of Rs 10 per quintal in sugarcane procurement price.
Accordingly, from this crushing season, farmers will be paid Rs 372 per quintal, an official statement said.
Khattar told the media that safeguarding the interest of the farmers is the utmost priority of the government.
“I urge the farmers that the prices have been hiked and now they should bring their sugarcane to the mills so the mills can run smoothly. Closure of sugar mills is neither in the interest of the farmers, nor for the mills,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that though the current sugar price has not increased as expected, still “we are giving high prices for sugarcane crops as compared to the sugar price”.
“The sugar mills are constantly facing financial losses but still we have time and again safeguarded the interest of the farmers,” he added.
As per official data, at present the sugar mills of the state are facing a loss of Rs 5,293 crore. The percentage of sugar recovery in the cooperative mills is 9.75 per cent, while the percentage of private mills is 10.24, said the Chief Minister.
He said to make the mills financially stable, the capacity of cooperative sugar mills is being increased along with setting up of ethanol and energy plants. Besides, the upgradation of mills has also been done.
Khattar said the committee constituted under the chairmanship of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister J.P. Dalal, after considering the demands of the sugarcane farmers, submitted its report.
The committee held several meetings with the farmers, cooperative department, private mills, and subject experts before recommending the hike, along with other important recommendations, he said.
The Chief Minister also said that due to cold weather conditions, mustard crop has been damaged. Regular ‘girdawari’ will be started from February 5 to assess the damage and farmers will be given compensation for the same.
Responding to a question, Khattar said that since he assumed power, timely payments to sugarcane farmers have been assured.
An amount of Rs 2,628 crore has been paid in 2020-21 while Rs 2,727.29 crore was paid in 2021-22, he said.
Responding to another question, the Chief Minister said the Opposition and some farmers’ unions are doing politics on this issue, which is not fair.
“Farmers also understand today that the sugar mills are running at a loss and despite this, the government is taking decisions in the interest of the farmers,” Khattar said.
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