'Good news' on sugarcane prices soon, says Mann; farmers decide to end Jalandhar highway blockade

'Good news' on sugarcane prices soon, says Mann; farmers decide to end Jalandhar highway blockade

Chandigarh, Nov 24 (PTI) Farmers demonstrating on a national highway in Jalandhar demanding an increase in sugarcane prices on Friday decided to end their stir after Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann assured them of 'good news' in the coming days.

The decision of the farmers came on the fourth day of their demonstration after a meeting here between union leaders and the chief minister, which last for more than 90 minutes, ended on a positive note.

The farmers had blocked the Jalandhar national highway. They had also stepped up their protest by blocking a railway track on Thursday, but this blockade was lifted as soon as the Punjab government announced the meeting.

'The good thing is that they (farmer union leaders) have stated that the blockade from the rail track has been lifted and while the service road of the (Jalandhar) highway is operational, the main highway will also be cleared now,' Mann, a senior AAP leader, said.

Farmers had been staging a 'dharna' in the middle of the Jalandhar-Phagwara section of the highway, and this affected traffic between Jalandhar and Delhi.

Talking to reporters, both Mann and the union leaders said the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere.

Though Mann did not reveal what would be the new state advised price for sugarcane, he said that 'as far as increasing the rate of sugarcane goes, Punjab has always been ahead'.

'In the coming days, sugarcane farmers will get good news regarding rate and compensation for losses they incurred due to floods earlier this year,' he said.

Mann also said a meeting with other stakeholders, including sugar mill owners, will be held on Saturday.

'Solution has been found, within one or two days new announcements will be made,' the chief minister said.

Farmers led by the Bharti Kisan Union (Doaba) had been demanding an increase in prices of sugarcane from Rs 380 per quintal to Rs 450 per quintal. They were also demanding the resumption of sugar mills' operations for the crushing cane.

BKU (Doaba) leader Manjit Rai, who was among the farm union leaders to take part in the meeting here, told reporters that the 'chief minister has assured the best rate of sugarcane in the country'. Mann also said by November 30 all mills will be operational, Rai stated and added that the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere.

Following the chief minister's assurances, he said the farmers will be ending their dharna now.

To a question, Rai said the chief minister has indicated that the increased rate of sugarcane will be close to Rs 400 per quintal. 'We have said it should be more than Rs 400,' he said.

Neighbouring Haryana had earlier this month announced a Rs 14 hike in sugarcane price to Rs 386 a quintal from Rs 372 per quintal.

Rai indicated that the increased sugarcane rates will be more than that of Haryana.

Asked about the issue of stubble-burning and Punjab being blamed for it, Chief Minister Mann said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should call a meeting of chief ministers from north and central states and offer a solution.

Mann said, 'Do we send smoke in pipes to Delhi, there is smoke from Haryana too'.

'This problem is not limited to one state. We had gone to Madhya Pradesh, even there we came across stubble burning. This problem is there in north and central India too. So, Modi sahab should come forward for this and call a meeting of the chief ministers of these states and offer a solution,' he said.

On farmers' protests, Mann during the meeting reiterated that the farm unions should not turn people against themselves.

'Blocking roads or sitting on rail tracks, this trend is not good. In the meeting, we said such things should be avoided in the future. There are several mediums and venues to talks. The trend to put common people to inconvenience is not good,' said Mann.

Replying to a question, Mann clarified that he has never said that farmers don't have the right to protest, but that should not be by done by causing inconvenience to people. There are other ways, he said.

Farmer leader Rai said that 'we told the chief minister that no farmer wants to come on roads to hold protest'. He said the government should have called them for talks much earlier.

Farmers under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha had blocked the Jalandhar-Phagwara section of the Jalandhar-New Delhi National Highway near Dhanowali village for an 'indefinite period' on Tuesday.

The protest in Jalandhar had affected the movement of vehicles from Jammu, Pathankot, and Amritsar via Jalandhar towards Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Nawanshahr, and Delhi.

With police diverting traffic towards alternative roads, the commuters had a harrowing time crossing the part of the district. PTI SUN VSD ANB ANB

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated feed.

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