Protests keep me busy, leave me with no time to plan: Chief Minister

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday said he does not get enough time to think and plan for the state as most of the time he is busy dealing with agitations and protests such as those for water, and price of sugarcane.

Chavan told this to a group of about 150 students from various institutes in the city at a programme organised by Fergusson College. Replying to a query on his plans for the state, he said, "Agitations and protests on issues such as sugarcane prices and water are incessant. I don't get enough time to plan. When I was at the Centre I used to plan things. This is not happening in the state as I am busy handling other things."

Chavan also criticised farmers' leaders leading agitations for higher prices for sugarcane and reiterated his stand that the state government will not intervene in the issue of first installment to growers by sugar mills.

"The first installment is not the final payment. We only need to see the first installment is paid higher than the FRP (Fair & Remunerative Price) fixed by national bodies. Once the sugar is manufactured and sold and the money earned by sugar mills becomes clear, the final price of cane could be decided and paid accordingly. What is important is that farmers get a fair price in the end and we will play a role if the final price of sugarcane paid to growers isn't fair," said Chavan.

When asked about the white paper on irrigation projects, Chavan said the decision was taken by him in light of the numerous projects though there was not enough financial provision for them. Also their practical utility was limited.

"Later, a few activists used RTI to get information on these projects and came up with allegations of corruption. They also moved court. Only after all this happened people started perceiving my announcement of a white paper in context of alleged corruption in the projects," said Chavan. Replying to another question as to why the government policy was focused on promoting education only in medicine and engineering and not other fields, Chavan said the state had grossly erred in ignoring other fields.

"It was indeed a wrong policy. Along with medicine and engineering other fields such as social sciences, pure sciences, humanities should get state support. Probably in a move to correct this, the PM has started the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) one of which is in the city. I am hopeful the IISER will soon become a bigger brand than IITs," said Chavan.

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