Representatives of various farmers’ associations of Tiruchi district have called upon the Union government to withdraw the ordinance providing for a ‘fair and remunerative price’ for sugarcane immediately.
In a unanimous resolution moved at the Farmers’ Grievances Day meeting held here on Friday, the farmers also demanded that the Centre increase the statutory minimum price (SMP) for sugarcane, with a recovery of 9.5 per cent, to Rs. 2,000 a tonne. Farmers attended the meeting wearing black badges to register their protest against the ordinance.
The Fair and Remunerative Price, introduced by the Centre, has caused extreme distress among sugarcane growers, the resolution said. The Tamil Nadu government, the resolution pointed out, had announced a State advised price (SAP) over and above the SMP. As per this, sugarcane farmers were to get Rs. 1,437 a tonne for the current season. But the Central ordinance has come as a big shock to farmers as mills have been told not to go by the SAP.
The Tamil Nadu government has already registered its opposition to the ordinance and announced that the SAP would be in force in the State. The Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s statement that farmers could negotiate an optimum price with the sugar mills was regrettable, the resolution said.
Sugar mills were already adopting a dual price system for registered and unregistered cane and the Centre’s move would only be favourable to them, said the resolution. Speaking on the issue, farmers’ representatives said that the price of Rs.1,298 a tonne of sugarcane announced by the Centre was neither fair nor remunerative.
Later, speaking at the meeting, A. Nagarajan of Puliyur demanded that the Corporation withdraw the entry fee levied on farm produce such as jasmine, rose and vegetables brought by farmers to the Gandhi Market in the City. He also appealed to the district administration to arrange for free transport of such produce in government buses to the market.
P. Ayyakannu, Secretary, Bharathiya Kisan Sangh, appealed to the district administration to expedite the enquiries on complaints into the wrongful patta name transfers. He also urged the officials to desilt and widen the Mullipadi channel. Banks should also be instructed not to charge any fee for issuing no due certificates for farmers.
A group of farmers from Vaiyampatti union urged the district administration to issue identity cards for coconut growers in the region to enable them to sell copra through the Agriculture Marketing Department.