Pune: Sugarcane cutters are mulling to stage agitation at Mantralaya on June 12 for several issues that need to be addressed on a priority basis, reports Agrowan.
The morcha will be launched by Lalbavta Us Todni Kamagar Mukadam and Wahtukdar Union affiliated with AITUC, said Rajan Kshirsagar, a leader of the organisation.
“There are more than 10 lakh workers engaged in cane cutting and harvesting operations. These workers do not have any social or legal security and the sugar mills are exploiting them.
“Sugarcane output per acre has declined during last season as per the sugar commissioner and this will affect the sugarcane cutters. Despite working throughout the season, they have not received the amount they were demanding as the weight of the cane was lower than expected,” he said.
Kshirsagar alleges that sugar mill owners and their agents are resorting to illegal methods such as abduction, physical assault, and forced collection to recover dues from laborers. Hundreds of such incidents have been reported in the talukas of Chalisgaon, Kannad, Sillod, Jaffrabad, Bhojardan, Lonar, Jintur, Risod, Sengaon, Avad, and Kalmnuri. Ksheersagar expressed anger, stating that such incidents have not even been recorded in the police diary.
Demands put forth by the union:
- The Kolhapur police administration should immediately suspend the 150 registered cases.
- The Sugar Commissioner’s office should provide a special allowance of Rs. 50 per ton directly to the laborers.
- Sugarcane harvesting should be included in scheduled employment.
- Payment to laborers should be made at a rate of Rs. 499 per ton based on the usage of harvesters.
- Separate laws should be enacted, similar to the Mathadi Act, for sugarcane and migrant laborers.
- Registration of sugarcane laborers should be done through gram panchayats.
- Pending dues of sugarcane laborers should be converted into institutional loans.