Khaira asks Punjab government to review its decision and hike prices of SAP at par with Haryana


Jalandhar, November 12, 2017: Speaking to the media at Jalandhar today, the Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira accused Captain Amarinder Singh of rubbing salt on the wounds of Punjab farmers, by not increasing even a penny in the State Assured Price (SAP) of the current sugarcane crop. Khaira lambasted the Punjab CM of favouring the powerful politician sugar lobby of the state, at the cost of poor farmers committing suicides in large numbers each day.
LoP Khaira said it was heart rending that while the retail prices of sugar were at an all time high of Rs.4100 per quintal, the Punjab government was denying the farmers even a meager increase. Khaira said it was noteworthy to mention, that the SAP of sugarcane in Haryana is Rs. 330 per quintal for early and mid yield varieties, the SAP in Punjab is ranging between Rs. 285-300 per quintal. It is also saddening to note said LoP Khiara, that this is the fourth consecutive year when the state has failed to make any increase in SAP.
Khaira said that the denial of any increase in the SAP is the outcome of the powerful private sugar lobby that that owns 7 sugar mills. Most of these he said were owned by politicians.
On the other hand, Khaira stated that the state owned 9 sugar mills were running huge losses of about Rs.150 crore, due to obsolete machinery and no backward and forward integration (co generation plants and distilleries) and thus have higher cost of production. The government owned sugar mills owe the farmers Rs. 71 crore as arrears for the last cane crushing season. Khaira said it was surprising that although there are 9 government run sugar mills compared to 7 owned by private companies, yet 70 % of the cane is crushed by these 7 private mills as the state owned mills are virtually redundant.
Khaira said it is an open secret, that the difference of Rs. 30 per quintal in SAP between Haryana and Punjab amounting to hundreds of crores will now be pocketed by sugar barons, while it will increase the debt burden and aggravate suicides by farmers of Punjab.
Khaira said that the anti farmer decision of Captain Amarinder Singh smacks of corruption and greasing of palms by the powerful politician sugar lobby.
Khaira demanded that the Punjab government must review its decision and hike the prices of SAP at par with Haryana i.e. Rs. 330 per quintal.

Sunday, November 12, 2017