Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday attacked the Samajwadi Party government in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh for being “unconcerned” to the hardships of the people and asked if its family feud was over to allow it to concentrate on implementing central schemes for farmers.
Modi criticised the Akhilesh Yadav government for not implementing the schemes to benefit farmers though the Centre was paying for them. “I want to ask UP government if you have settled your dispute, implement crop insurance scheme in UP. I don’t think they (UP government) can do that… They don’t have interest in solving problems,” he said at BJP’s ‘Parivartan Yatra’ rally in Kushinagar.
He was apparently referring to the crisis within the Yadav family that pitted Akhilesh against his father Mulayam and uncle Shivpal months ahead of the UP elections. Modi said had previous governments thought of changing lives in villages, farmers and poor would not have been facing problems as he tried to strike an emotional chord with farmers by beginning his speech in Bhojpuri and devoted a considerable part of his speech to problems of cane growers.
“The time has gone when those in government called themselves rulers. I am your ‘sewak’ (I am at your service)… It’s my responsibility to work for you. You have given me a lot. I am indebted to you,” he added. Stating that cane dues amounted to a whopping Rs 22,000 crore in 2014-15, he said people had got “used to” it, so much so that they did not even complain.
“The UP government was also unconcerned. When we formed government at the Centre, we decided to take care of cane growers. Now only very little payment is pending,” he said. Highlighting his government’s initiatives, Modi said, “Sugar mill owners wanted package when they met me. I asked them your habit to take packages is old. I will give you whatever you want and I later sent officers to seek list of those whose dues were pending.”
“I later said package will be given but not to sugar mills but to farmers and their dues will be transferred to their account directly” to ensure there are no middlemen, he said.
Modi said that in order to remove worries of sugarcane growers, he also asked sugar mills to install machinery to produce ethanol, which could be used as an alternative to petrol and diesel.
“If sugar prices fall, produce ethanol. We won’t let cane growers die. “The sugar mills have produced 100 crore litre of ethanol that is a record for the country. This is used in vehicles and saved on import of fuel,” he said.