With the sugar crushing season in Uttar Pradesh underway, the Uttar Pradesh Sugar Mills Association, the apex body of sugar mills in the state, is up in arms against ruling party politicians in the state, alleging that they are misbehaving with private sectors mills’ staff. Referring to a recent incident at the KK Birla-owned Seohara sugar mill in Bijnore, where a ruling party MLA entered the mill premises along with 40-odd people and physically assaulted the mill staff, the association has, in a letter written by Deepak Guptara, the secretary general of UPSMA, urged chief minister Yogi Adityanath to “ensure that the mill staff at Seohara or any other sugar mill in the state is not subjected to hooliganism at the hands of ruling party members or any kind of mafia elements.” Condemning the incident strongly, the association has asked the chief minister for protection from “mafia elements” and said that such an incident “shows the vulnerability of the sugar mills against undue pressures by the public representatives and ruling party workers”.
It also added that “such happenings also do not help in creating a conducive atmosphere for the industry in the state. On the contrary, such untoward happenings put a question mark on the prevailing industrial climate of the state.” Nailing the point further, the letter states that the incident has left the factory workers stunned and scarred, leading to a flash strike, which was called off later in the day. “However, the workers are insisting on stern action against the culprits as a result of which the weighment clerks are still on strike,” writes Guptara, adding that due to this, the cane supply from out centres stands disrupted. “This would, in effect, mean that cane would be dumped at the out centres and even the harvested cane shall remain in the fields. This would lead to cane drying up, which would cause loss to both farmers and the mill,” he said, adding that the entire work schedule from cane procurement to sugar production has gone haywire and it will take days to correct the same and that too at a great financial loss.”
Openly stating that “unreasonable behaviour and demands” are made on the industry, the letter has appealed to the chief minister “to take stern measures so that a clear message is passed to all anti-social elements that such unruly behaviour will not be acceptable.” It may be mentioned that Uttar Pradesh, the country’s largest sugar producer, has just started the new sugar crushing season and is slated to produce over 10 million metric tonnes of sugar this season.