Former Army chief V K Singh to join Parliament gherao tomorrow

V K Singh

Former Army chief V K Singh, who has assumed an activist's role after retirement, will join a Parliament gherao agitation by sugarcane farmers tomorrow, its organisers said.

The protest has been organised by Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (RKMS) and is expected to be joined by farmers' leaders and civil society members.

The former Army chief had on November 2 attended a press conference held by RKMS and announced that the outfit will gherao Parliament on December 4 if government did not reject Rangarajan Committee report on freeing the sugar sector.

"The former Army chief will be part of the gherao. We had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh giving him time till November 30. We are going ahead with our protest as announced," RKMS Convenor V M Singh said.

The Rangarajan committee has recommended phased decontrol of the highly regulated Rs 80,000-crore sugar industry by suggesting removal of the levy obligation, release mechanism and having a uniform, revenue-linked sugarcane price.

The organisers said the recommendations of the panel would affect farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

"The truth is that the Commission has acted only on behalf of the Sugar Mills and ignored the farmers' interest, whereby farmers who are already in a miserable condition will face more hardships," they claimed.

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