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Legislator rings UP sugar alert

New Delhi, Aug. 8: An Uttar Pradesh BJP MP and a former top cop today warned of “serious law and order problems” if sugar mills’ dues to farmers aren’t cleared, doing so after a minister’s unsatisfactory response and underlining the big expectations from the Narendra Modi government.

A visibly upset Satyapal Singh, who represents sugar belt Baghpat from where he was elected months after retiring as Mumbai police chief, flashed the warning moments after minister Ram Vilas Paswan appeared to wash his hands of the matter saying it was up to the state to act.

“The situation is explosive. Tomorrow, if these hungry farmers come to the streets, matters will get very difficult to handle… this is a law and order problem,” Singh said after the statement by Paswan, the food and civil supplies minister, in the Lok Sabha.

Singh claimed the mills owe the cane growers over Rs 5,000 crore. BJP sources said the MP was probably under pressure from voters.

Today, Paswan cited the Sugarcane (Administration) Act, 1996, to contend that it was the state governments that were empowered to take action in case of non-payment to farmers by sugar mills.

“The Centre can only advise states to act against the mills...” Paswan said.