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Rane to stay put; Pawar takes credit

On the day Narayan Rane said in Pune that he was considering Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s proposal before taking any decision on the future course of action...

Written by Express News Service | Pune |
January 7, 2009 11:00:41 pm

On the day Narayan Rane said in Pune that he was considering Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s proposal before taking any decision on the future course of action,Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told mediapersons that it was he who had advised Rane to stay within the Congress fold. Pawar said he had advised Rane to stay put,and not return (to the Sena).

“Don’t go back to where you came from. Be patient. You are good and you can get the results,” was his advice to Rane, Pawar told the media at the Alpabachat Bhavan,near Council Hall in the city on Tuesday.

“I believe he is paying heed to my advice; I’m happy,” Pawar said.

He did not directly answer if Rane would be welcome in NCP,but said if Rane stayed within the Congress,they would fight the elections together. “If he stays in the Congress,there is no question of him founding an independent party,” Pawar added.

On Monday,even as the rebel Congress minister was meeting with Chief Minister Ashok Chavan,talks were rife that the former had plans to move back to the Shiv Sena,which Rane had quit in 2005.

Pawar was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the state workshop on increasing sugarcane production in Maharashtra. Falling sugarcane production in the last decade saw the state slip from the top position to the fourth,after Tamil Nadu,Andhra Pradesh,and Karnataka.

Pawar,however,said no decision had been taken on the reduction of sugar exports. “Raw sugar will be imported and sent to the sugar mills. Buffer stock will be used to ensure prices of sugar do not rise a lot,” he said.

Later in the day,Rane,talking to reporters at his Pune residence,said Pawar had advised him to stay with the Congress.

“I was supposed to announce my decision today,but postponed it due to the offer made by Chavan,” Rane told reporters at his residence in Kothrud. He,however,refused to divulge details of the proposal made by the chief minister.

Action against mills
Earlier in his speech,Pawar said the government would move against sugar mills not giving the support minimum price (SMP) in time to farmers. “As in UP,we will take criminal action against sugar mills not paying farmers the SMP,” he said. Pawar also said the government was mulling over a proposal on liquid fertilizers and organic fertilizers.

Pawar said that sugar mills should invest in agriculture research and institute separate departments.

“Farmers are not changing seeds. If they are forced to change seeds every two years,production will increase,” he said in his hour-long speech to farmers.

The state has unveiled a Rs 133-crore plan to boost the flagging sugarcane production. It will be implemented this year and will involve 1,200 farmers and 100 sugar mills; each mill will contribute 1,000 hectares. “The goal is to increase production by individual farmers from 20 tonne per hectare to 50,” agriculture commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh said.

Average production is around 75 tonne per hectare,as against 105 in Tamil Nadu.

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