Ajit Singh threatens to lay siege to parliament over sugarcane pricing

November 7th, 2009 - 8:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh, who is spearheading a campaign against the central government’s sugarcane pricing policy, said Saturday that the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Samajwadi Party had offered their support to the farmers’ cause.
The RLD chief said that thousands of sugarcane farmers from Uttar Pradesh would reach Delhi on Nov 19, the opening day of the winter session of parliament, to lay siege to parliament house to register their protest.

Ajit Singh said that opposition parties would not allow the government to pass the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) Ordinance in parliament. The FRP has fixed sugarcane price at Rs.129.84 per quintal, in comparison to the State Advised Price (SAP) of between Rs.165 and 170.

The RLD chief said he met CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat and Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh over the issue.

“I met Karat and Amar Singh today (Saturday). There was only one agenda to discuss - sugarcane pricing. They have offered their parties’ support towards the farmers’ cause,” Singh told IANS.

Sugarcane farmers in Uttar Pradesh are the worst hit by the new ordinance issued by the central government Oct 29, Ajit Singh said. The ordinance has to be ratified within six months to become law.

The former union minister said his effort was to prevent the government from passing the FRP ordinance. “I will also meet BJP leader Arun Jaitley to discuss the issue,” he said.

“The government doesn’t enjoy majority in the Rajya Sabha. We will not allow them to pass the ordinance,” said the RLD chief, who is leading an agitation by sugarcane farmers in western Uttar Pradesh.

The government has fixed a FRP of Rs.129.84 a quintal payable by sugar mills for the sugarcane to be procured from farmers during the 2009-10 crushing season.

In case a state government fixes SAP higher than FRP, it will have to pay the difference.

Karat Saturday urged the union government to withdraw the ordinance, saying it would “severely affect sugarcane farmers especially in Uttar Pradesh”.

He said the party was against the ordinance and “we will unitedly oppose it”.

Amar Singh said the opposition would fight together “if sugarcane mill owners start to decide the fate of farmers”.

Amar Singh also said that he and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav would join Ajit Singh to protect the farmers’ interests, “if needed”.

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