Pay Arrears to Sugarcane Farmers Immediately
AFTER the successful historic rally of farmers on November 20, the All India Sugarcane Farmers Coordination Committee met at Kisan Sabha central office in New Delhi in the evening on November 20, and took stock of the situation of sugarcane farmers in different cane growing states. Representatives of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana participated in the meeting. It was reported that huge arrears are still pending with the sugar mills in almost all the states except Haryana where mills have cleared the dues after protest and agitations. The 1966 Sugar Control Act is not implemented and government officials have taken no steps for implementation. In many states, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, a number of mills are not paying the SAP. Many mills do not run in time and farmers have to wait for weeks, even months for delivering the canes at the mill gate. Cane price FRP is arbitrarily fixed by the central government. Cooperative and public sector mills are being privatised. There is no relation between the price of sugar obtained from the public distribution system (PDS) and the price of canes paid to farmers.
It was resolved to demand the government the following:
· Price of sugarcane to be fixed based on the Swaminathan Commission recommendation (C2+50 per cent) every year and for the current season 2017-18, price be fixed at not less than Rs 4000 per ton (Rs 400 per quintal)
· 1966 Sugar Control Act be strictly implemented
· Arrears be paid immediately with interest
· Say no to Rangarajan Committee recommendations
· Stop privatisation of cooperative and public sector sugar mills
· Modernise the old mills
· Share be paid to farmers out of the sale of baggas, press mud, ethanol and other byproducts.
It was noted that Maharashtra has mainly cooperative sugar mills, so their specific problems have to be separately looked into. It was also decided to form state level organisations of sugarcane growers in all the states, affiliated to AIKS, and hold the next national level convention in the third quarter of 2018.
Tamil Nadu sugarcane farmers’ leader Raveendran presided over the meeting and national convenor N K Shukla conducted the proceedings.