‘Seize sugar from factories that owe money to farmers’
Farmers in the sugarcane heartland like Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Solapur have been torching offices of sugar mills and locking their field offices over the past few days.
PUNE: MP and Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader Raju Shetti has urged the sugar commissioner to seize sugar from sugarcane factories with pending dues of farmers and auction it.
On Monday, Shetti submitted a petition to the sugar commissioner asking him to take action against sugar factories with pending dues. In all Rs 4,500 crore is pending with sugar factories. Shetti said the sugar commissioner should take action against the sugar factories that have failed to pay the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) to the farmers.
“The sugar commissioner should seize the sugar from the mills and auction it. Our organisation will buy sugar and let the sugar factories pay the FRP to the farmers. The sugar will then be sold. We will continue our protest until the FRP issue is resolved. Ideally, a farmer should get his FRP in 14 days but the pending dues clearly reflect the miserable state of the sugar farmers. The political leaders of the State and Centre have neglected the issue,” added Shetti. He alleged that his phone was tapped. and his supporters arrested ahead of his protests.
Farmers in the sugarcane heartland spread over Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Solapur districts have been torching offices of sugar mills and locking their field offices over the past few days. Offices of both cooperative and private mills have been targeted.
The protests were triggered by the decision of sugar mill owners to pay farmers at the rate of Rs 2,300 per tonne of cane crushed instead of the full Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) that is Rs 2,850 per tonne. Mill owners say the current selling price of sugar, at about Rs 2,900 per quintal, was not adequate to even recover production costs of about Rs 3,400 per quintal.