Once again this year, UP’s sugarcane farmers have to agitate for what is their due. This is not the first year this has happened.
On 16th January this year, around 50 cane farmers staged a dharna in front of the Upper Doab sugar mill in Shamli. The Upper Doab sugar mill has not cleared pending sugarcane dues since March last year. Now, it owes Rs 80 crore for the 2017-18 season and Rs 120 crores for the 2018-19 season.
In Khairana, just 15 km from Shamli, the dues to the cane farmers had mounted to Rs13000 crore as on 31st May 2018.
As of 14th January, 2019 the dues in UP have already touched Rs 5,000 crore, just two months into the season. Only 45% of the dues across the state have been cleared.
An FIR has been filed by the Shamli district administration against the joint managing director, the chief executive officer and an executive officer of the Upper Doab sugar mill. However, the farmers are far from appeased by this action. They are demanding their dues be paid right away failing which they are demanding arrest of the responsible officers of the mill.
The farmers are also justifiably very angry with the district and the state administration, who have not taken any action against such errant mills. Even more shameful, the MLA from Thanabhawan in Shamli district, who is also UP's sugarcane and sugar development minister, was reported to have been inaugurating a banquet hall, just 60 km away in Meerut, on 22nd January.
This clearly shows the priority given by the so-called people’s representatives – they have all the time to cut ribbons and preside over non-official functions, but have no time for the people who they are claiming to represent.