The sugarcane farmers,who had laid siege to the Chandigarh-Ludhiana National Highway-95,called off their protest on Friday after receiving a part of the arrears of Rs 28 crore for the sugarcane supplied to seven cooperative sugar mills of Punjab.
The Chief Minister has also directed the Rural Development Board to immediately release Rs 15 crore to the Sugarfed for the payment of these cane arrears,which it has. He asked Sugarfed to arrange balance funds of Rs 13.9 crore from its own resources. The farmers,led by Punjab Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal,who is also the chairman of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal),had started the protest in Morinda on Thursday and threatened to continue till they got the payment. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today intervened in the matter himself and issued orders to release the outstanding payment with immediate effect.
Since Sugarfed,which owes the payment to farmers,was short of funds,Punjab Mandi Board,as per the orders of CM,released a Rs 15-crore cheque to Sugarfed for disbursement among the farmers. Lakhowal,who had even threatened to resign his post of mandi board chairman if the state government did not pay heed to the protesting farmers demand,said that as for the the rest of the payment,Sugarfed has agreed to release Rs 8 crore by January 15 and Rs 5 crore by January 25.