Even as the Uttar Pradesh government issued directives to the Divisional Commissioners and District magistrates (DMs) for evolving a consensus on the sugarcane farmers getting a price more than the State Advised Price (SAP), the growers have threatened to intensify their agitation. The cane farmers have demanded a price of Rs. 280 per quintal.
The Government order was issued on Saturday. According to the order, the Commissioners and the DMs have been asked to convene a meeting of the representatives of cane growers and the mill owners to evolve a negotiated settlement on cane price. Since the State government has already declared a SAP of Rs. 170, Rs.165 and Rs. 162.50 per quintal on different varieties of cane, and has indicated that there would be no further hike, it wants that the farmers should get more in the form of incentives.
The Uttar Pradesh Sugar Mills Association (UPSMA) has already agreed to give a bonus of Rs. 15 per quintal to the farmers along with the SAP. But the State Government wants that the farmers should get maximum benefit. In other words, get an incentive of more than Rs. 15 per quintal, which the mill owners have agreed to give.
Cabinet Secretary, Shashank Shekhar Singh told journalists here on Sunday that around 14 sugar mills had commenced crushing operations. In addition, crushing would start soon in 13 other mills. Mr. Singh said around 6.5 lakh quintal of cane was purchased by the mill owners and around 4.5 lakh quintal crushed.
Mr. Singh said the restriction on the entry of unprocessed, or raw sugar in the State would continue till the crushing of sugarcane was over. The Cabinet Secretary said following the government’s decision to ban the entry of raw sugar in Uttar Pradesh, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar urged the State to reconsider its decision. Mr. Singh said the Central government was apprised of the State’s move to continue the restrictions till the completion of crushing. The decision was taken in the interest of the farmers, he added.
Emboldened by the success of their agitation, which forced the Centre to retract on the issue of fair and remunerative price (FRP), the cane farmers have clarified that they would not settle for a price less than Rs. 280.