Lucknow: With an eye apparently on the forthcoming Assembly elections, the Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday hiked cane price by Rs 40 to a maximum of Rs 250 per quintal.

"In the interest of the farmers the government has decided to hike the State Advisory Price (SAP) of the cane by Rs 40 per quintal," Chief Minister Mayawati told reporters here.

She said that now the cane price of different varieties of cane would be Rs 235 per quintal, Rs 240 and Rs 250 respectively.
"The decision will benefit more than 40 lakh cane farmers in the state," she said.

In the last crushing season, the government had fixed the SAP between Rs 205 per quintal and Rs 210 per quintal.

Mayawati said that sugar mills have also been directed to start crushing within next three days at all cost.

"As compared to previous regimes, the government has hiked SAP by 65 percent in the last four years," she said.

Mayawati said that the SAP announced by the government was higher than Punjab where cane price has been fixed at Rs 220, 225 and 230 per quintal for different categories.

Mayawati termed the fair and remunerative price of Rs 145 per quintal fixed by the Centre for the current crushing season as insufficient.

"In wake of insensitive approach of the Centre, the state has decided to fix the SAP. The state has decided to give better price to the farmers from its limited resources," she said.

She said that in western UP mills had started crushing cane three weeks back.

"All the private and government mills have been directed to start crushing on time so that farmers get their fields for Rabi season," the Chief Minister said.

"For the remaining mills it has been directed that crushing should start within next three days. Strict warning has been given that in case of laxity in cane purchase or crushing cane stern action would be taken," she said.