Kolhapur: Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) chief and MP from Hatkanangale Raju Shetti has always been vocal for distressed sugarcane farmers. He has intensified protests against the Centre, state governments and sugar mills.
According to a report in the TheTimesofIndia.com, in a recent move, Shetti launched a scatching attack on sugar mills and urged the government to seize the sugar manufactured by mills to make payment to farmers.
Earlier, he had demanded sugar mills to pay FRP (Fair Remunerative Price) to cane farmers in one installment instead of 80:20 formula as it is mandatory for millers to pay farmers FRP within 14 days of the crop being cut from their fields. But millers are citing their inability to pay farmers the arrears, due to falling prices of sugar in the domestic market. Delayed and part payments have made sugarcane farmers angry.
Last week, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana had torched a couple of sugar mills and stopped harvesting in western Maharashtra due to part payment of FRP, which paralysed the sugar industry. After a truce between SSS and sugar mills, the protest has been called off. Also, they urged to pay the FRP and gave an ultimatum of 14 days.
BJP governments at the state and the Centre have done little to douse the crisis prevailing in the sugar industry, which is expected to continue for some time.
As per the recent report released by Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), the sugarcane price arrears as on December 31, 2018, were RS 19,000 crore, including Rs 2,800 crore of arrears of the previous season.
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