A number of farmers from Uttar Pradesh today questioned Aam Aadmi Party leader Sukhpal Khaira’s locus standi to speak for them and staged a demonstration against him here. The farmers challenged AAP MLA for a debate over his allegations against power and irrigation minister Rana Gurjit Singh that he had not paid dues to cane growers.
Farmers from Shamli district in UP said that much against Khaira’s claims that Singh’s five sugar mills owed Rs 200 crore to the farmers, these (mills) owed only Rs 58 crores and the payments were in the pipeline. “What Khaira probably does not know that these mills provide direct or indirect employment to at least 75,000 people in the area,” they added.
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They said there is a mutual relationship between farmers and the mill owners which Khaira cannot understand.
They said it is a routine process that mill owners make the payments in due course after taking the sugarcane from farmers.
They said in rest of the Uttar Pradesh, the mills owed Rs 2,600 crore to the farmers. “Compared to that, the amount Rana Gurjit’s family-owned mills owed to the farmers is negligible,” they added.
The farmers included Vedpal Singh, Pradeep Kumar, Sunil Kumar, Mukesh Saini, Rameshwar, Nawab Singh, Raj Kumar, Mahipal Singh.
Notably, the AAP MLA from Bholath, Sukhpal Khaira, on June 1 had alleged that the cabinet minister’s company, which was operating sugarmills in Uttar Pradesh, had not paid dues to cane growers.
Meanwhile, Khaira in a statement hit out at farmers describing them as “paid agents” of the minister and alleged that they came all the way from UP to defend the “anti farmer” deeds of sugar mills of the minister there.
“I am happy that these paid agents have at least admitted that the sugar mills of Rana Gurjit Singh are defaulters to the tune of Rs 52 crore,” said Khaira who has been vocal against Rana Gurjit Singh, demanding his sacking for allegations of impropriety against him in the multi-crore mining auctions. PTI CHS TIR 06040051