5 November 2016 – for immediate release
Sone Ki Chidiya Federation held a major public meeting in Shamli today to demand that the UP Government reverse its waiver of Rs. 1,180 crores in interest that is payable by sugar mills to sugarcane farmers. The Chief Organiser, Mr Alok Kumar, coordinated the meeting in which around 5000 farmers attended.
As per the Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966, farmers must be paid 15% interest on any payments that are delayed beyond 14 days. However, farmers’ payments are always in arrears and they don’t get the promised interest. The Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has waived Rs.1,180 crores in interest that is payable to farmers by sugar mills (including Rs.500 crores for the year preceding the last year, and Rs.680 crores for the last year).
On the other hand, mills are quick to deduct payment (including interest) for urea fertiliser supplied by them to farmers, immediately upon commencement of the sugar season. Farmers are constantly asked to pay but when the time comes to pay their dues, the Government takes the side of the mills.
Sone Ki Chidiya Federation, which promotes the causes of the oppressed, is concerned about this unjust decision. Farmers, who earn only Rs.3000 per month on average, are badly affected by this decision.
At the rally, Mr Alok Kumar asked the Chief Minister to reverse this decision within ten days, failing which farmers will commence a peaceful agitation across the entire State of UP. It appears that farmers are being left with no choice but to protest in order to get their dues. India cannot become a sone ki chidiya if farmers are oppressed and made poorer. Farming is already a loss making undertaking. This will break the back of the farmer.
Mr Alok Kumar mentioned that there are many other problems in the sugarcane industry. It is essential to liberate the sugarcane industry from government regulations so that mills can get a much higher price for sugar and molasses from the market. Farmers can then benefit from the higher price. Further, if the restrictive laws are scrapped, mills will receive money in a timely manner from the market and will be able to pay the farmers immediately.
SKCF believes the time has come to implement fundamental reforms in the agriculture sector. These reforms are detailed in the Sone Ki Chidiya Total Reform Agenda, which is available on the Federation’s website http://sonekichidiya.in/.
Notes for Editors
SKCF is a charitable trust that undertakes a range of charitable and advocacy activities, including supporting farmers and oppressed groups in India.
Alok Kumar Singh (Ghaziabad), Chief Organiser, +91 9999755334