Ahead of Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll, the Punjab government has cleared the arrears of all sugarcane farmers in the constituency, though farmers in the rest of Punjab are yet to get their payments for 2016-17. There are two co-operative sugar mills in this constituency, one in Gurdaspur and another in Batala. Last month, a total of Rs 24 crore was disbursed towards clearing arrears, sources said.
However, farmers who had sold their crop to co-operative sugar mills in Nakodar, Bhogpur, Ajnala, Budhewal (in Ludhiana district), Fazilka, Nawanshahr and Morinda are yet to get their payments totalling around Rs 100 crore.
Lakhwinder Singh, a farmer from Meerjiana village of Gurdaspur and president of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) of this district, said, “Farmers in Gudaspur now cannot rue about pending sugarcane payments. If this is the criteria of releasing payments, I feel elections should be held after every six months in the state.”
Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, state general secretary of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan), said, “This is ridiculous. They have followed pick-and-choose policy only because of elections. This shows politicians just want votes and are not serious to serve otherwise.” Meanwhile, farmer unions in the state have plans to stage dharna outside Moti Bagh in Patiala from September 22-September 26.