Shimla: Establishing a sugar mill in Una has come around to haunt the election prospects of industry minister Kuldeep Kumar as the promoter is bent upon spinning it out as an election issue for the farmers of Gagret and neighbouring areas.Surinder Singh, promoter of the Rs 650 crore Mapex sugar mill has put it as a choice before the voters of Gagret. “They will have to choose whether they want a sugar mill or not for Kuldeep Kumar, the industries minister has a vested interest in not improving the lot of the farmers,” said Surinder Singh.
Speaking to the media here he alleged that the minister had stakes in establishing the rival mill Sai Sugar and was stalling setting up of his mill. Surinder Singh was recently arrested on charges of assault and released from judicial lock up after having cooled his heels for over a month. He alleged that the minister had misused his official position and he along with his workers were booked under false charges.
On the other hand industry minister Kuldeep Kumar told My Himachal news portal that the promoter had failed to establish a mill even after three years of getting approval from the cabinet. “I’m concerned about the sugarcane growers of the area and since one mill failed to come up, we approved another mill for the area, said Kuldeep Kumar. The minister denied that he had any role to play in the arrest of Surinder Singh and his men.
When contacted, Atul Fulzele, the district police chief of Una said that the sugar mill promoter and his men were from Haryana. “They were booked for forcefully entering and beating up the house owners where his company had rented office accommodation. A case under arms act was registered ” said Fulzele.