Uttar Pradesh cane farmers gear up to agitate

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Lucknow | Published: November 15, 2014 12:23:25 AM

They will bring truckloads of cane to capital Lucknow on Saturday and gherao the Vidhan Sabha, before setting the cane on fire

Unhappy with the cane price announced by the UP government, sugarcane farmers are launching an agitation. They will bring truckloads of
cane to capital Lucknow on Saturday and gherao the Vidhan Sabha, before setting the cane on fire.

Apart from Lucknow, the farmers, under the leadership of Bharatiya Kisan Union, also threaten to bring the entire state to a halt with their ‘chakka jaam andolan’.

“Firstly, the sugar mills are not paying us the cane dues of last year. Even now, cane dues worth R1,800 crore are pending. And secondly, the state government has not only kept the cane price (state advised price) unchanged for two years now, it has also allowed the mills to pay us a measly R40 as the second tranche after three months of crushing.  Due to the drought conditions this year, the input cost of the farmers has gone up by one and a half times and our average input cost is around R340/quintal. But instead of understanding our plight, the government has played into the hands of millers, who claim that they are making huge losses. Is there no one to look into our losses?” asked Rakesh Tikait, the national spokesperson of BKU.

“Isn’t it ironical that the mills would be allowed to keep the R40/quintal payment off for months and hence earn a good amount of interest on it, while the farmers, who have taken loans to till the crop would pay an interest on it and yet not be entitled to interest on his late payment,” said VM Singh, convener Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, adding that fighting for the interest has become a routine affair every year.

“I have sent a letter to CM Akhilesh Yadav stating that if the Uttar Pradesh government fails to provide good price for sugarcane, BKU will stage a blockade in the state tomorrow,” BKU chief Naresh Tikait said.

Stating that the price announced by the government is not acceptable to the farmers as it favours sugar mill owners, Tikait demanded that the minimum support price of sugarcane should be fixed at R350 per quintal.

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