April 16, 2023

Sugarcane Farmers Stage Dharna

ON April 6, sugarcane farmers from the sugarcane growing states organised a massive dharna before the Parliament under the banner of All India Sugarcane Farmers' Federation. Hundreds of sugarcane farmers from Tamilnadu, Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Haryana assembled at Jantar Mantar to protest against the sugarcane policy of the union and various state governments.

A charter of demands was sent to the union agriculture minister, demanding that the price of sugarcane be fixed at Rs 5000 per ton (Rs 500 per quintal) for the current season at 9.5 per cent recovery, in light of the rising cost of inputs. The demands also included the payment of the price within 14 days after the supply of sugarcane, in accordance with the Sugar Control Order, 1966; immediate payment of all arrears; sharing of profits obtained from the sale of by-products like ethanol, bagasse, and press mud by mills with farmers; opposing privatisation of public and cooperative sector sugar factories; renovation and reopening of closed sugar mills; and implementation of all assurances given to farmers after the last historic kisan struggle, including a legal framework for minimum support price (MSP).

AIKS general secretary Vijoo Krishnan, vice president Hannan Mollah, and finance secretary P Krisnaprasad addressed the dharna, with                           D Raveendran, president of All India Sugarcane Farmers' Federation, presiding over the proceedings. Leaders from various states, including Velmaran from Tamil Nadu, Kariappa Rao from Andhra Pradesh, Ram Babu from Telangana, Yashvant from Karnataka, Umesh Deshmukh from Maharashtra, Prabhuraj Narayan Rao from Bihar, Baburam Yadav from Uttar Pradesh, Kamruddin from Uttarakhand, Balwan Singh from Haryana, and Murarilal Dhakar and Jagdish Patel from Madhya Pradesh, described the problems faced by sugarcane farmers in their respective regions.

NK Shukla, general secretary of the Federation, delivered the concluding speech, emphasising the need for the expansion of the movement and organisation. A warning was also issued to the government that if the demands are not implemented in a timely manner, sugarcane farmers will be compelled to undertake further agitations.