Raju Shetti pushes for fair and remunerative price again

ST CORRESPONDENT
Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Speaking about the protest, SSS Spokesperson Yogesh Pande said that this time they are pressing for legal action against the mills. “All we are asking to follow the law. FRP should be cleared within 14 days, but we see that the commissionerate is yet to act on the guidelines of the government,” he added.

Pune: Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) leader Raju Shetti said on Monday that the farmers would not bend this time and launched an indefinite stir outside the sugar commissioner’s office, until the issue of fair and remunerative price (FRP) for sugarcane farmers is sorted out. The farmer leader earlier led a protest march with thousands of farmers who had reached at the sugar commissioner’s office. 

“The sugar commissioner has all the powers. All we are asking for is to file FIRs against sugar factories failing to pay FRP to farmers. The commissioner is telling us that he will take adequate measures and so we have given him a week’s time. If we do not get our FRP arrears, we will continue our protest,” he said.  

Shetti said that the mills should pay the FRP at one go. “We have frequently approached the sugar commissioner, but the whole process of penalising and taking action against sugar mills remains on paper. Over 180 mills have defaulted on FRP payment and government should take action against them,” he added.

Speaking about the protest, SSS Spokesperson Yogesh Pande said that this time they are pressing for legal action against the mills. “All we are asking to follow the law. FRP should be cleared within 14 days, but we see that the commissionerate is yet to act on the guidelines of the government,” he added.

As per the latest data furnished by the sugar commissionerate, the FRP arrears have reached to Rs 5,300 crore. As a result, farmers across the state are protesting against the defaulting sugar mills. On Monday afternoon, around 3,000 farmers started a protest march from Tilak Chowk towards sugar commissioner’s office in Shivajinagar. Armed with sticks and whips, the farmers raised slogans against the government. Later, SSS representatives met Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad to press for their demands of seizing sugar from defaulting sugar mills.The representatives also demanded legal action against the mills. After the sugar commissioner failed to convince SSS leaders , they continued with the protest by camping outside the commissionerate. 

Farmer leader and activist Yogendra Yadav, who was also part of the protest, said that the situation of sugarcane farmers continues to be grim. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to examine the problems of farmers. There is a need to set up an economic model for farmers so that they are not dependent on loan waiver,” added Yadav.

Police deployment  
Over 200 police officials were deployed outside sugar commissioner office to maintain law and order. No untoward incidents were reported. Police officials from Shivajinagar police station along with senior police officials, crime branch officials , riot control force and others were present at the spot. The police had barricaded the area outside sugar commissioner’s office and had partly closed the subway in the area.

Roads closed down
As the protesters have camped outside the sugar commissioner’s office, the road from Shivajinagar towards Agriculture College was closed. Pregnant women at a maternity hospital located on the road faced inconvenience due to the protest, as they had to take detour due to the closed road. Traffic on JM Road, FC Road, Karve Road and Deccan was impacted.

MNGL pump and nearby shops shut down
Following the protest, the MNGL pump located opposite to sugar commissioner office was closed causing inconvenience to buses, autorickshaws and cars. Several small shops located in the vicinity of the sugar commissioner’s office were also shut due to the protest.

Earlier protest
It is been four years since Raju Shetti was arrested by the Shivajinagar police for vandalising sugar commissioner’s office while demanding for FRP for sugar cane.The incident took place on January 12, 2015 when several vehicles were set on fire and stones were pelted at the office by hundreds of party workers.

Related News