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Now, Congress demands higher sugarcane price


Lucknow: The Congress party in Uttar Pradesh has offered its support for the agitating sugarcane farmers in the state and urged the Mayawati government to announce a higher price for cane.

The Congress will organise a joint demonstration with farmers’ outfit Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (RKMS) and other sugarcane growers’ unions at the Ganna Bhawan here Dec 16 to protest against the state government’s price policy, party leaders said.

The government has announced a state advised price (SAP) of Rs.165-170 per quintal for sugarcane, which according to farmers is “too less”.

“Farmers are demanding a price of Rs.280 per quintal for the simple reason that the cost of production of sugarcane has doubled because of drought, floods and higher labour wages,” RKMS convener V.M. Singh told IANS.

“On the other hand, the yield per acre has reduced to half,” he added.

Singh, who was the Congress candidate against Bharatiya Janata Party’s Varun Gandhi in Pilibhit in the last general elections, also said Sugar mills have the capacity to pay higher prices for farmers.

“Mill owners can pay Rs.280 per quintal because sugar was being sold in the market at Rs.4,000 per quintal as against Rs.1,600 per quintal last year, when they paid Rs.140 per quintal.”

After the government fixed Rs.165-170 per quintal Oct 24, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, a prominent farmers’ body in the state, had called a huge farmers’ meeting in Bareilly, which demanded Rs.280 per quintal for cane.

According to Singh, most other states have higher SAP than the prices fixed by the Uttar Pradesh government.

“Uttarakhand has fixed its SAP at Rs.192.50-Rs.197.50 for the current year. Punjab and Haryana have SAP of Rs.180 and Rs.185 respectively, while the mills in these states were paying Rs.220-Rs.230 per quintal,” he said.

“Likewise, mills in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra are paying Rs.220-230 per quintal to farmers with an additional transportation and harvesting amount of around Rs.30 per quintal,” Singh added.