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Aligarh: Two years ago before the assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, BJP had promised prompt cane payments in its election manifesto, but nothing seems to be fulfilled as mounting cane arrears have not been cleared yet.
The pending dues in the state stand at more than Rs.7,000 crores and just 54 percent of the dues of farmers had been settled by February.
The crop is bumper in the state, but there are no takers to it as the sugar mills are closed; therefore cane growers are forced to sell their crops as a fodder.
Shailendra Pal Singh, a sugarcane farmer from Aligarh, said, “Whenever cane growers or any farmer leaders visited to meet the minister of cane development, Suresh Rana, to discuss our plight, then he just gave us tall promises, but we have not received any relief yet.”
“Sugarcane farmers are forced to sell crops as fodder because the mill is close”, he added.
Aligarh has only one sugar mill, and minister of cane development, Suresh Rana, is in charge of the district.
Millers are citing their inability to clear pending dues of farmers due to the low selling price of sugar, caused by excess production and a decline in global sugar prices.
The government has been trying to resolve the crisis for quite some time now by introducing sops for mills and cane farmers. Last year, the Yogi Adityanath government had announced a soft loan scheme worth Rs 4,000 crore to help the private mills.
The issue of sugarcane payments has always acquired political importance in the state, especially during elections. State’s sugarcane economy, estimated at Rs 40,000 crore, directly impacts nearly 4 million farmers’ households. Therefore, politicians will not leave any stone unturned to woo the sugarcane growers to attract their votes.
Sugarcane farmers problem expected to turn into a major political issue ahead of the general election.