The Mayawati Government on Wednesday banned the import of unprocessed, or raw sugar in Uttar Pradesh and simultaneously made it clear that only the state advised price would be given to the sugarcane farmers. The recently introduced fair and remunerative price (FRP) by the Central Government would thus be a non starter in the State.

Both the moves are seen as an attempt to assuage the feelings of the farmers, who have been agitating against the twin moves.

Cabinet Secretary, Shashank Shekhar Singh told newspersons here that raw sugar from Brazil had been imported by a mill owner of the State but since then the Government has prohibited the import of the commodity. The decision has been conveyed to the mill owners, Mr. Singh said. The Cabinet Secretary said the move would benefit about 40 lakh cane growers in the State.

On the vexed issue of the procurement price of sugarcane, the Cabinet Secretary cited the Supreme Court order which upheld the State’s authority to fix the state advised price (SAP). The FRP, which in effect has replaced the old system of statutory minimum price (SMP) and has been introduced from the 2009-10 cane crushing season. Stating that the State was governed by the apex court’s order, Mr. Singh said payment of SAP would be ensured to the farmers.

He said the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati had recently written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to reconsider the decision on FRP. The Prime Minister’s reply is awaited, he added.

The Cabinet Secretary said directives have been issued to the divisional commissioners to redress the grievances of the growers. The mill owners have been asked to extend all the benefits, including cane price to the farmers. Mr. Singh said steps have been taken by the Government to increase the per acre yield of sugarcane by introducing five new varieties.