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Lucknow: Sugarcane farmers across the country have intensified their protests against the Centre, state governments and sugar mills. Agitated over delay in sugarcane pending arrears, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan is likely to hold a protest rally at the Uttar Pradesh sugar commissioner’s office on February 15 to press their demand. The protest march will commence from Hazratganj Choraha till Cane Commissioner’s office.
Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan president, VM Singh, has submitted a letter to sugar commissioner regarding the same. He has laid down the following issues in the letter:
- Fixation of price of cane for the season 2019-2020 as per the recommendation of Swaminathan Report, i.e production cost + at least 50% profit.
- Waiver of crop loans of all sugarcane farmers across the State.
- Issue recovery certificates against all the sugar mills including the State owned Cooperative & Corporation Mills for interest to be paid to the farmers for delayed payment beyond 14 days of the delivery of cane for the period 2011 to 2015 in terms of the final order and judgment dated 9.03.2017 in PIL No 67617 of 2014 “Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan versus State of UP & Ors” ; AND
Order dated 20.12.2018 and 5.02.2019 in Contempt Application No 2815 of 2018 VM Singh versus Sanjay Bhoosereddy.
4. Interest to be paid to all the sugarcane farmers for the delay in payment beyond 14 days of delivery of cane for the period 2015-16, 2016-2017 & 2017-18.
5. Immediate payment of balance and dues along with interest to be paid to all the sugarcane farmers for the period 2017 -2018 and 2018-2019.
6. Issue recovery certificates against the defaulters for the crushing season 2017-2018 and register FIR against the sugar mill owners.
7. Restore the ‘Sattas’ of the farmers of Bilaspur–Behari –Puranpur–Kheri etc whose Sattas have been cancelled.
8. Ensure the operation of Amroha, Majhola, Chatta sugar mills that are not in operation.
While talking with Chinimandi.com, Singh said, “This protest is going to impact the government, and we are firm on the issues mentioned in the letter.”
It has been more than three months of crushing commencement, but many mills have not yet paid the pending cane arrears. The rule mandates that amount should be deposited to the farmers’ bank accounts within 14 days after the sugarcane harvest is handed over to the factory owners, but millers failed to do so. Millers are citing their inability to pay farmers the cane arrears, due to falling prices of sugar in the domestic market.
Anjali Dixit, district president of Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, said, “More than 30,000 sugarcane farmers are expected to join the protest march.”
According to ISMA, it was estimated that cane price arrears across the country had reached about Rs 20,000 crore at the end of January 2019.
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