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Taking a serious note of problems faced by potato growers, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to set up a committee to suggest relief measures for them. The state cabinet presided over by the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today gave its nod for setting up the committee headed by deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, which will submit its report in 15 days time, spokesperson Srikant Sharam told reporters after the meeting. The committee will suggest measures for extending relief to potato growers, Sharma said, adding that continued efforts are being made to provide all possible help to farmers. Reacting to opposition charges in this regard, Sharma said: "Those who are actually responsible for the plight of potato growers in the country and state are raising fingers at us... the reality is that it is for the first time that minimum support price for potato has been announced which is Rs 4.87 per kg". In what was taken as a unique protest by the farmers last week, potatoes were thrown at various prominent places here, allegedly against the low purchase price of the produce.
However, the government had dismissed the incident as the work of "miscreants" and had also suspended one police sub- inspector and four constables over it. Potatoes were thrown at the Vidhan Sabha Marg, near VVIP guest house and near the 1090 Crossing, all important areas of the state capital on Saturday. Srikant Sharma, who is also the power minister, reiterated government's resolve and said that continued efforts are on to ensure how farmers become self reliant and their income is doubled and cited the decisions like loan waiver for their benefit. Minister for Sugarcane Development Suresh Rana who was also present in the briefing said that it is for the first time since Independence that so much work has been done in the department. Punishment for under weighing has been made more stringent and instead of six months imprisonment, it has been extended to three years, Rana said. The cabinet also decided to re-start two sugar mills in Pipraich (Gorakhpur) and Munderwa (Basti) which have been closed since 2008 and 1999 ,respectively, he added. So far, the cane dues worth Rs 8,250 crore have been cleared to farmers, whereas the previous government had made a payment of Rs 5,456 crore during this period, Sharma added.