V K Singh may join Parliament gherao on sugarcane issue

Anna Hazare and V K Singh

Former Army Chief V K Singh on Friday took his protest against the central government a step further when he indicated he may join a canegrowers' planned gherao of Parliament on December four.

Appearing on a new platform to back Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan's (RKMS) demand for rejection of Rangarajan Committee report on freeing the sugar sector, he said the committee's recommendation on doing away with State Advisory Price (SAP) and cane reservation area will adversely affect the farmers of northern states.

Addressing a press conference, Singh and RKMS Convenor V M Singh released a letter they wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for rejecting the Rangarajan Committee report.

"In case the report is not rejected, canegrowers of northern states would gherao Parliament on December 4 as a protest against the said report," the letter said.

Asked whether he supports the call for a gherao of Parliament, the former Army Chief said, "I am endorsing a call which is in the interest of farmers."

On joining the gherao, he said, "we will cross the bridge when we reach there.....Whether that situation will come or not, we will see. I am quite sure the Prime Minister is competent enough to relook at the report."

He said the revenue sharing formula suggested by the committee is not fair and does not provide a level-playing field to northern states, where sugar recovery is below 9 per cent. But the panel suggests 70 per cent revenue be paid based on an average 10.31 per cent recovery of sugar.

Singh demanded that the Centre should not fix fair and remunerative price (FRP) and current system of SAP and cane area reservation should continue. He said the farmers' body has no objection to other recommendations of the panel.

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