Distressed UP farmers burn sugarcane crop

December 7th, 2007 - 8:02 pm ICT by admin  

Muzaffarnagar (UP), Dec 7 (ANI): Farmers in Uttar Pradeshs Muzaffarnagar District are upset over the unreasonably low prices being offered to them for their sugarcane produce and delay in crushing by the mills, and are destroying their crops in protest.
Excessive produce during the current season is proving a bane for the sugarcane farmers.
The farmers in and around Muzaffarnagar have taken to burning large swathes of sugarcane, which they say are drying up.
They have been forced to destroy their standing cane crop to make space to sow the next crop, as the crushing has not been started.
The farmers are also keen to clear their land to start cultivating wheat for which the MSP (minimum support price) has been increased. A minimum support price of Rs 1,000 a quintal for wheat during the current rabi season and a demand-supply shortage of the grain are seen encouraging growers to take to large-scale wheat cultivation.
Sudhir Kalkhande, a farmer, accused the mill owners for delaying the crushing of sugarcane crop and also blamed the anti-sugarcane farmers policies for their poor state of affairs.
Farmers claim that the government and private-owned sugarcane mills have defaulted in paying dues to them.
We have not received the dues. Also, the sugarcane produce is lifted only to the extent of 70 percent which means a massive loss to us,” Kalkhande said.
They are also demanding an increase in Minimum Support Price, the price determined by the government for procurement of sugarcane crop, from the present Rs 110 per quintal to Rs 135 per quintal.
The sugarcane rates have been brought down by Rs 15 and this happened because the government did not support us. Our lawyers could not represent our case properly. The result is that the farmers are suffering,” said Rakesh Tikkat, Spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union.
Uttar Pradesh is the second largest sugar producing state in India. The country is the world’s second biggest producer and largest consumer of the sweetener.
India’s population of more than one billion people annually consumes about 19 million tonnes of sugar.
Sitting on huge sugarcane extracted stockpile, the government made mandatory five percent ethanol blending with mineral oil in October, and allowed exports to insulate farmers from crashing domestic sugar prices.
The country emerged as a major net sugar exporter in 2007-08. (ANI)

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