New Delhi, Nov 17: Former Army chief VK Singh has condemned the recent police firing on protesting farmers in Maharashtra and demanded that the state take responsibility for the delay in carrying out negotiation of cane price.
In a joint statement issued along with Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan Convenor VM Singh, the former Army chief said they express their grief over the loss of lives of sugarcane farmers who died in police firing earlier this week.
Expressing solidarity with the protesters, they said, "the state should take responsibility for the delay in carrying out the negotiation of the cane price. Had the state acted in time, precious lives and property could have been saved."
They said even the states of Uttar Pradesh and and Uttrakhand have not fixed the cane price.
In the absence of cane price, they claimed, the crushers and kohloos are purchasing cane at Rs150-200 per quintal against last year's cane price of Rs 240 per quintal.
"We request the Governments of UP and Uttrakhand to take immediate measures to declare the cane price. Needless to say that these states need to take a lesson from Maharashtra.
"The demands of the farmers are genuine and they should not be forced to agitate by the state as it happened in Maharashtra," they said.
Earlier this month, Singh had addressed a press conference here demanding rejection of Rangarajan Committee report on freeing the sugar sector and indicated he may join a cane growers' planned gherao of Parliament on December four.