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Lakhimpur Kheri: UP Government Left Us With No Choices, Say Protesting Cane Farmers

In Lakhimpur Kheri district, sugarcane farmers have outstanding dues of Rs 786 crores for the 2020-21 crushing season.

Lucknow: Irked over the delay in the settlement of dues by Bajaj Sugar Mills, sugarcane farmers in several towns, including Gola and Palia of Lakhimpur Kheri district, have been protesting since last Wednesday. They also threatened to intensify the stir if their dues were not cleared within 10 days.

The protesters, under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), gathered outside the sugarmill and raised slogans in support of their demand. The District Magistrate and the Tehsildar reached the spot to pacify the protesters, but they refused to move from the protest site. Farmers said they will leave the spot only after the money is transferred to their bank accounts, and the two mill officials are arrested and sent to jail.

They said demand letters have been given to the state government over the past years, but the continued lack of response from the state government has forced them to take the step.

According to Salwant Singh, a farmer leader associated with Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) in Lakhimpur Kheri, cane dues have not been paid since December 2020 in the district. In November this year, the mill administration had given a written undertaking saying that all dues would be cleared by November 30, but even on December 9, the farmers have received no information about the pending dues.

The state government left us with no choice. The prices of fertilisers, labour, diesel rates are increasing. The farmers are in a poor condition at this point. On one hand, the government asks us to not to commit suicide but on the other it itself is not helping us, which has forced farmers to protest amid this crisis,” Singh told NewsClick.

Another farmer, Arvind Kumar, from Palia, said that the mills had failed to clear the payments for the past one year. The sugarcane farmers had held a massive protest in February, demanding the release of dues by government and private sugar mills in the state.

Addressing the protest demonstration, the leaders of various farmers’ unions slammed the mill management for not keeping its repeated promises to clear the outstanding arrears.

They said that they were left with no option but to leave their families and hold dharnas. With the dues not being cleared, farmers said that they had been forced to take loans from arthiyas and banks to make ends meet.

Farmer leaders alleged that the mill's officials were offering “some money”, but they refused to take it as they were being treated like beggars.

The mill's officials, with the help of district administration, were offering some amount instead of clearing whole dues, but we refused to take any amount. We are not beggars, we came here for settlement. Also we will not withdraw the protest until our demands are fulfilled,” he said.

The crushing season ended almost ten months ago, and since then the mill has also been lying closed. The pending amount, which as per norms has to be cleared within 14 days of purchase of sugarcane, has not been paid since January.

Meanwhile Kheri’s DM had on Tuesday ordered an FIR against the sugar mill officials of the Palia unit.

Palia Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Romi Sahni also tried to resolve the matter by seeking state chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s intervention in the matter.

Highlighting the plight of farmers ravaged by floods and now waiting for their dues, Sahni said, “The plight of farmers in Palia and Gola are unbearable. All the mills in the region are closed. It has been more than a year but farmers have not been paid for their crops,” he said in a video statement.

However, protesting farmers slammed him for his “melodrama”. They said the situation of cane farmers in Kheri region is the same, but the BJP leader Sahni raised the farmers’ plight when the assembly election was round the corner.


The officials of the Bajaj Hindusthan Sugar Mill in Palia were booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust for not paying dues of over Rs 266 crore to the farmers. The mill was accused of “financial exploitation” of farmers, fraud, and fueling discontent among them by not paying them their dues for a year.

Another FIR was lodged against a sugar mill in Gola in the same district on the complaint of a BJP MLA Arvind Giri.

An FIR was registered against three officials of Bajaj Hindusthan Sugar Limited mill in Palia under Sections 120B, 420 and 406 of the IPC and Sections 3 and 7 of The Essential Commodities Act. A spokesperson for the Cane Department confirmed that an FIR had been lodged and further action would be taken as per the laws governing the supply and purchase of sugarcane.

According to the farmers, Rs 266 crore is due to the farmers from Bajaj Sugar Mill of Palia. Bajaj's third sugar mill in Khambhar Khera owes Rs 141 crores to farmers, while two cooperative sugar mills also owe farmers about 90 crores. Belrayan owes Rs 41 crores and Sampurna Nagar 34 crores.

In Lakhimpur Kheri district, sugarcane farmers have outstanding dues of Rs 786 crores for the 2020-21 crushing season. The farmers of Bhira area have now announced not to give sugarcane to Bajaj and Palia sugar mills.

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