Farmer organisations in Maharashtra have decided to mount pressure on the state government and sugar mills over the issue of FRP payment.
While the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana ( SSS) has threatened to gherao guardian ministers of various districts and take action against mills that have not paid FRP to farmers, the Raghunathdada Patil-led Shetkari Sanghatana has decided to wait till the crushing season ends and then stop sugar from leaving the factories.
Significantly, the SSS, which had supported BJP in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls, has now decided to take on the government. Raju Shetty-led SSS at a meet held in Sangli on Sunday sounded out a warning to the government to take action against erring mills and also pay up the R2,000- crore loan package as promised. “Payment of FRP is mandatory and therefore the sanghatana will gherao guardian ministers of every district seeking answers on what they have done about FRP,” Shetty said.
SSS is now ready to join hands with Congress on the issue of farmers and the land bill.
Patil, president of Shetkari Sanghatana, said, “This time around, our organisation has decided to wait until May 15 so that crushing operations are not affected. After that the organisation will begin agitations against the sugar mills. According to Patil, there have been sporadic cases of violence of tyres being punctured and sugar not being allowed to leave factories in some parts of Maharashtra. “The government has promised an interest-free loan of R2,000 crore to farmers. However, cane arrears have gone up to R4,000 crore and therefore even this financial assistance will be of little help. Had the government released the money earlier, at least some of the mills would have been able to pay up the FRP,” he said.