Karnal: Farmers protest over delay in sugarcane state-advised price

Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) coalition government of turning a blind eye to the sugarcane growers of the state, hundreds of farmers from the northern districts held a protest at Karnal seeking a hike in the sugarcane state-advised price.

Led by Bhartiya Kisan Union (Tikait) state president Ratan Mann, hundreds of farmers reached the Gharaunda residence of the local BJP member of legislative assembly (MLA) Harvinder Kalyan and staged a dharna.

The protesting farmers demanded that the government increase the advised price to 450 a quintal from the current 362 per quintal. They alleged that the delay in fixing the price has resulted in sugar mills not starting the disbursement of payment to farmers even though the harvesting operations began last month.

Speaking about the same, Ratan Mann said, “This is for the first time in the past several years that the government did not announce the sugarcane advised price even a month after the crushing operations had started. Due to the unnecessary delay, the sugarmill did not start the payments forcing the farmers to borrow money at higher interest rates from arhtiyas.”

Ajay Kumar of Karnal, a protesting farmer, meanwhile, said “I have sold sugarcane of around 3 lakh to the Bhadson Sugar Mill but as of now I did not get a single penny. I have to pay 50,000 advance to the labour besides other expenses on transportation of sugarcane to the mill.”.

The farmers alleged that officials had already submitted a proposal to increase the sugarcane price above 380 being provided in the neighbouring Punjab, but the delay by the chief minister’s office had resulted in sleepless nights for lakhs of sugarcane growers across the state.

Protesting farmers also submitted a memorandum of their demands to the MLA Kalyan and threatened to intensify their agitation if the government failed to take any decision within the next two days.

As per the information, the farmers have called a state-level panchayat at Panipat on Sunday to discuss the next course of action.