Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann on Friday said that the state government will continue to give the highest rate to the Sugarcane cultivators of the state in the coming times too.
Interacting with the media persons after parleys with the farmers Unions here Punjab Bhawan today, the Chief Minister said that the state government has always been on top to provide rates to the sugarcane cultivators and now also this trend will be continued. He said that the state government was giving Rs 380 per quintal as State Agreed Price (SAP) of the sugarcane which was highest in the country till Haryana had recently enhanced it to Rs 386 per quintal. However, Bhagwant Singh Mann said that the state government will soon give good news to the farmers by upward revision of this price, after having a meeting with the Sugarcane mill owners, in the coming days.
The Chief Minister said that for the first time in the history of the state his government has cleared all the pending arrears of sugarcane farmers, which were inherited from the previous governments. He said that the state has 16 sugar mills out of which nine are from the cooperative sector and the remaining ones are from the private sector. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that only the payment from two private mills viz. Phagwara and Dhuri are pending, adding that the wheels have been set in motion for recovering this money, and paying it to the farmers, after selling these properties.
The Chief Minister unequivocally said that his doors are open for dialogue with any section of the society but harassment of common man on pretext of protests is totally unacceptable. He said that this trend needs to be checked so that the general public do not face any sort of inconvenience due to the protests adding that it is heartening to learn that the farmer unions have given affirmative response to it. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that the government is always ready to resolve the issues pertaining to various sections of society through negotiations so the trouble to the common man through rail or road blockades must be avoided.
The Chief Minister said that such action causes problems to the general people due to which they turn against the agitators thereby creating discord in the society. He said that unfortunately the common man has to suffer a lot due to such protests which is totally unwarranted and undesirable. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that it is a matter of immense pride and satisfaction that farmers have decided to lift the rail and road blockade in larger public interests.
The Chief Minister said that the state government is making strenuous efforts for ensuring that Punjab becomes number one state in the country for which support of every section of society is vital. He said that this is a pro-people government and every action of the state government is aimed at ensuring the well being of the people. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that every single penny from the state exchequer is being spent on the well being of the people and no stone is being left unturned for this noble cause.
The Chief Minister said that no one has emerged victorious or has lost in this process of dialogue as every decision has been taken to ensure welfare of the state and its people. He said that the state government has taken path breaking initiatives by giving free power, opening Aam Aadmi Clinics, giving government jobs to people, opening new vistas of employment in the private sector and others. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that this process will also continue in the coming days as the state government is making concerted efforts for holistic development of Punjab.
The Chief Minister said that the state government has made all out efforts to check the menace of stubble burning in the state. He said that it is strange to note that despite all efforts Punjab is being blamed for the deteriorating AQI index in the national capital. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that it is ironic that despite of every effort the state is being defamed without any reason.
The Chief Minister advocated incentivizing the farmers for not burning the paddy straw and promotion of the crop diversification. He said that along with this the farmers should be given MSP for the alternative crops thereby supplementing their income in a big way. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that this will help in encouraging the farmers to come out of the rut of wheat/ paddy cycle and enhance their income.
The Chief Minister also cautioned the Union government to stop refraining from threatening the farmers to end the MSP regime on paddy. He said that rather than this the Union government must intervene and find a viable mechanism to stop burning of paddy straw as this was a problem of entire northern and central India. Bhagwant Singh Mann quipped that if the Prime Minister Modi can boast to solve the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine, then this is a comparatively small issue for him but it will help in saving the environment of the country.
The Chief Minister categorically said that Punjab has played a vital role in making the country self-reliant in food production and the Union government should desist from abandoning the hardworking and resilient farmers of the state on this issue. He said that rather than meting out step motherly treatment with the farmers and agriculture the Union government should make efforts to make agriculture a profitable venture. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that the MPs of the Aam Aadmi Party will raise all these issues related to Punjab in the ensuing session of the Parliament.
The Chief Minister also expressed hope that the Punjab Governor will soon clear all the bills pending with him. He said that the Apex court has given a clear verdict in this regard and the bills passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha are now lying with the Governor. Bhagwant Singh Mann said that the time has come when the Governor should discharge his constitutional and legislative duties thereby ensuring the smooth functioning of an elected government in the state.