Dhuri sugar mill crisis: Farmers to block trains over sugarcane procurement delays

Ludhiana: Sugarcane farmers are set to stage a rail roko on the primary Dhuri line starting December 27 to express their discontent with the sluggish procurement of cane by the management of the Bhagwanpura sugar mill, situated in Dhuri, Sangrur, reported  The Indian Express.

Farmer unions, including Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta (Azad), BKU (Dakaunda), and Kirti Kisan Union, will unite in protest under the leadership of the Ganna Sangharsh Committee (Punjab).

The Dhuri sugar mill, based in Sangrur, had formally declared the cessation of operations on October 27 this year, after issuing a notice on February 28, advising farmers against sowing sugarcane crops for the following year. Despite the closure announcement, assurances were made to farmers regarding cane procurement during the pre-notice period, with the crushing season in Punjab’s sugar mills commencing on December 7.

Earlier, from December 10 to December 13, farmers had conducted a dharna against the mill management and the Punjab government on the Dhuri-Malerkotla main road. The Sangrur administration had directed farmers to provide sugarcane to either the Mukerian sugar mill or the Amloh sugar mill, prompting a dharna that was lifted on December 13 after assurances from the Dhuri sugar mill management. However, the commitment was not honored, leading to a meager procurement of not more than 800 quintals of sugarcane to date.

Harjit Singh Bugra, President of the Ganna Sangharsh Committee, expressed frustration, stating that despite a meeting with the cane commissioner on December 21 in Dhuri, no resolution was reached.

Farmers highlight that out of approximately 6 lakh quintals earmarked for procurement, 5.5 lakh quintals were designated for the Amloh sugar mill, with the remaining for the Mukerian sugar mill. Payments were expected from the Mukerian mill within a fortnight for the entire stock.

Jaswinder Singh Longowal, President of Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta (Azad), voiced concerns over the slow pace of sugarcane procurement by the Dhuri sugar mill, leading to additional costs for farmers transporting the stock to the Amloh sugar mill.

The decision to initiate the rail roko was collectively made during a meeting held by various farmer unions on the premises of the Dhuri sugar mill.

Despite efforts to obtain comments, Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Jitendra Jorwal and Dhuri Sub-Divisional Magistrate Amit Gupta were unavailable for remarks.


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