Sugarcane cultivators and farmers using agricultural pump sets have planned a Vidhana Soudha Chalo programme on September 26 in protest against the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane announced by the Centre recently and the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022.
President of Sugarcane Growers’ Association of Karnataka Kurubur Shanthakumar accused the Centre of betraying the sugarcane farmers of the country by increasing the FRP recently from ₹290 to ₹305 per quintal while increasing the sugar recovery rate from 10% to 10.25%.
The sugarcane farmers have been claiming that the increase in FRP would effectively be only ₹5 per quintal that does not commensurate with the increase in the cost of cultivation including prices of fertilizers, pesticides and labour costs. He demanded a review of the FRP so that sugarcane cultivation becomes remunerative to the farmers.
Mr. Shanthakumar, who is also the President of the Federation of Farmers’ Associations of Karnataka, urged the Centre to withdraw the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022, which is aimed at privatizing power supply. The proposed law, which will lead to fixing of electricity consumption meters for irrigation pump sets, is only a ploy to deny free power supply to the farmers for their irrigation pump sets used for irrigating their lands, he said.
Along with the issues of sugarcane FRP and Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022, the farmers will also be voicing their concern over the reported efforts by sugar mills to deny the farmers their rightful payment for supplying sugarcane.
The leaders of Samyukta Kisan Morcha, who participated in the farmers’ protest in Delhi recently, will address the farmers participating in the Vidhana Soudha Chalo rally.
Mr. Shanthakumar said the Samyukta Kisan Morcha will be holding a convention at Gandhi Bhavan in Bengaluru on September 25 to strengthen their movement against the anti-farmer policies of the Centre, which is yet to deliver on its promise of introducing a law guaranteeing Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farm produce, besides paying compensation to the families of 750 farmers, who had lost their lives during the farmers’ agitation against the three farm laws that were subsequently withdrawn.
Apart from fixing MSP for farm produce on the basis of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan Committee report, Mr Shanthakumar said the farmers are demanding the abolition of the Goods and Sales Tax (GST) imposed on agricultural produce and implements.
In Karnataka, Mr. Shanthakumar said crop loss has been reported from estimated 10 lakh hectares of land, but the Central team has failed to properly assess the damage to the crops, he said while criticising the officials and Ministers in charge of the district for not coming to the aid of the farmers.
He urged the officials from the Departments of Revenue, Agriculture and Horticulture to visit the flood-hit areas, study the crop loss and ensure that the farmers receive just compensation. He threatened to launch a “cheque burning movement” if the Government gives an “unscientific and small amount” in the form of compensation to the farmers, who had suffered crop loss in the recent floods.