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Farmers and farmers’ groups in Uttar Pradesh are feeling increasingly unhappy with the piling up of sugarcane arrears. Sugarmills are yet to pay over ₹11000 crore in dues to the farmers in the State.
The State sugarmill association, however, blames the decreasing rate of sugar for its inability to sufficiently and promptly clear the dues.
According to officials of the State Cane Department, cane dues are ₹10657 crore, which has led to many farmers’ groups in the State to warn of agitation and State-wide protest.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), the biggest and most influential farmers’ body, and the Bharatiya Kisan Mazdoor Manch (BKMM) have threatened protests in every district against the failure of the State government to get the sugarmills to clear their dues.
“The BJP government had won the votes of the farmers promising them to deliver cane dues in 14 days from the beginning of the crushing. The arrears will soon cross ₹12,000 crore but the government is yet to come up with any solution. Only yesterday a farmer in Saharanpur attempted suicide by taking poison after the local bank issued him recovery notice. Such incidents will become more frequent if the Adityanath government continues to sleep,” said Prof. Sudhir Panwar, former Member of the State Planning Commission.
Mr. Panwar said the situation of farmers in western U.P. districts like Baghpat, Shamli, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur was worse
Cane Development Minister Suresh Rana, however, said the government was doing everything possible to ensure timely payment of dues. “We are acting against sugar mills which are not paying the farmers. District administrations are issuing notices and taking actions against the defaulter sugar mills,” he said.
Highly placed sources in the State Cane Department told The Hindu that the Modi government was contemplating a whole range of solutions to deal with the crisis, including proposing a production-linked subsidy scheme for sugarcane farmers, imposition of sugar cess and reducing GST on ethanol.