Farmers continue siege at Uttar Pradesh sugar mill

June 10th, 2008 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, June 10 (IANS) Thousands of sugarcane farmers continued for the second day their siege of a sugar mill in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district to demand their long pending dues. The farmmers are demanding payment of an estimated Rs.100 million arrears against supply of sugarcane to Bajaj Hindustan Mill in Kinauni town, about 450 km from here.

Farmers are thinking of stopping supply of sugarcane to Bajaj Hindustan group’s all 14 mills in the state in the next crushing season commencing later this year.

While mill owners were reported to have claimed that there were no outstanding dues, farmers alleged that the mill was not adhering to the price determined by the country’s apex court.

The state government has stood by the farmers’ claim and have charged the mill-owners of misinterpreting the court orders to suit themselves.

“We have made it very clear to the mill owners that they must pay the farmer’s dues as per the apex court order, fixing the per quintal price at Rs.110 for sugarcane supplied in 2006-2007 and Rs.118 for that provided in 2007-2008,” state’s additional sugarcane commissioner N.P. Singh told IANS.

“However, the owners of Bajaj Hindustan mills were trying to twist and turn facts and are refusing to pay up what was legitimately due to the farmer,” he said.

Singh said: “A formal direction had also been issued by the sugarcane commissioner to all sugar mills in this regard, following which most of the mills had readily begun to abide by it.”

“Sadly, it was only Bajaj Hindustan mill that was looking for ways and means to avoid payment that was legitimately due to the sugar cane growers,” he added.

The payment was due for sugarcane supplied in two successive crushing seasons of 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Asked what steps the government was taking to defuse the crisis, he said: “There is little we can do beyond persuading the mill-owners to pay up.” “However, the administration was taking necessary steps to avert any law and order problem,” he added.

Mamchand Singh, leader of the sugarcane farmers action committee, was reported to have told mediapersons in Kinauni that the farmers were simply asking the mill owners to implement the Supreme Court order in letter and spirit.

He said that They were holding a peaceful demonstration and would not lift the siege until their lawful demand was met.

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