Punjab: Sugarcane farmers protest demanding to start operations at Dhuri sugar mill

Bhatinda: Police thwarted an attempt to disrupt railway traffic on the Dhuri-Ambala-Ludhiana section on Wednesday by detaining 70-80 farmers at Alal village near Dhuri, reported The Times of India.

The move followed a call from sugarcane growers to obstruct rail traffic at Dhuri, the assembly constituency of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. The farmers aimed to voice their demand for the commencement of operations at the Dhuri sugar mill and the settlement of arrears. The plan involved assembling at Dhuri grain market to proceed to the railway station.

Following a brief protest, law enforcement successfully cleared the railway tracks by rounding up approximately 70-80 farmers. As per media report, notably, certain farmer leaders, including Ganna Sangharsh Committee Chairman Harjit Singh Bugra and BKU Ekta Azad President Jaswinder Singh Longowal, were apprehended during the early hours of Wednesday from their residences. In response to this action, aggrieved farmers gathered outside the police station at Longowal to stage a protest.

Subsequently, Kirti Kisan Union Sangrur District President Jarnail Singh Jahangir and Youth Wing Convener Bhupinder Singh Longowal, accompanied by activists, arrived at Alal and were also detained. Sangrur SP (Investigations) Palwinder Singh Cheema informed that matters have been resolved with the farmers, and all those detained have been released. A meeting between farmers and higher officials has been arranged.

Concerns regarding the Dhuri sugar mill were raised after it issued a notice on February 28, stating its non-operation in the upcoming crushing season and advising farmers not to sow sugarcane or to make alternative arrangements. Despite the mill’s closure announcement on October 27, intervention by the administration led to assurances that sugarcane procurement would take place during the pre-notice period. The private mills’ crushing season commenced on December 7.

Farmers, dissatisfied with the mill management and the Punjab government, staged a protest from December 10 to 13. Ganna Sangharsh Committee members stated that the Sangrur administration had initially directed them to supply sugarcane to Mukerian or Amloh sugar mills. After protests, assurances were made that Dhuri sugar mill management would procure cane from December 15 and issue payment slips with stamps from both Dhuri and Mukerian sugar mills. However, these assurances were not fulfilled.

Farmers noted that out of approximately 6 lakh quintals of sugarcane earmarked for procurement, around 5 lakh quintals were designated for Amloh sugar mill, with the remainder for Mukerian sugar mill. Notably, Amloh sugar mill is situated nearly 70 km from Dhuri, while Mukerian sugar mill is over 180 km away.


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