Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

UP: Farmers Protest in West UP, Demand Around Rs 4,000 Cr Sugarcane Dues

Also, the state government has not declared the State Advisory Price of cane for the current season yet.
Also, the state government has not declared the State Advisory Price of cane for the current season yet.

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Flickr

Lucknow: Thousands of sugarcane farmers from Western Uttar Pradesh have been protesting for the past seven days, demanding payment of dues of around Rs 4,000 crore for the previous crushing season (2022-23). Notably, a number of farmers and Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) workers have alos been holding sit-in protests in front of Bajaj Sugar Mill (Bajaj Hindustan Sugar Ltd.) in the Bhaisana area of Budhana and Muzaffarnagar for the past two months.

The protest is being led by a 20-member committee, mostly farmers affiliated to the BKU (Tikait). However, other farm groups like BKU (Charuni), BKU (Ambawat) and Ganna Sangharsh Samiti are also supporting the protesting farmers. 

Rakesh Tikait, national spokesperson of BKU (Tikait) said the agitation would continue till the payment of arrears was not cleared. 

"The government talks about paying the cost, but the sugarcane price has not been declared yet. There has been a demand to declare the sugarcane price before the start of the season," he told NewsClick.

He further said that "there is a dispute regarding sugarcane centres in several villages. In such a situation, the district administration should work on building a sugarcane centre, as per the demand by villagers. Unless these demands are met, the farmers are not going to leave from here."

Farmers said they were opposed to supplying sugarcane to sugar mills and urged that it be directed to all sugar mills in the upcoming crushing season. They are also demanding the settlement of outstanding dues with interest. 

Nagendra Tomar, a farmer from Bijnor, who is not associated with any union, told NewsClick, “The mills owe me over Rs 7 lakh. It’s been over a month since the mills started crushing, but we are yet to receive this year’s payment. Recent rains have damaged my wheat, potato and sugarcane crops, but there is no help from the government yet.”

The new sugarcane crushing season (October 1, 2023- September 30, 2024) has started but the farmers of Uttar Pradesh have not yet been fully paid the sugarcane dues of the previous crushing season (2022-23). Sugarcane farmers of the state have an outstanding of about Rs 4,000 crore on more than a dozen sugar mills. Some of these mills have made payments only till December 2022.

Not only this, the state government has also not declared the State Advisory Price (SAP) of sugarcane for the current season, whereas it should be announced before the start of the season. In the last season (2022-23), the SAP for early variety of sugarcane was Rs 350 per quintal.

According to the latest data of Uttar Pradesh Sugarcane Development Department, Rs 33,826.53 crore has been paid to sugarcane farmers till September 29, 2023, which is 88.90% of the total payment. If seen from this perspective, the total liability of cane farmers on the sugar mills of UP is around Rs 38,000 crore, while the outstanding amount is around Rs 4,200 crore. There are more than a dozen mills including Shamli, Wool (Shamli), Malakpur (Baghpat), Simbhawali, Modi Sugar Mills that owe farmers outstanding dues.

Suman Singh, a sugarcane farmer from Bhainswal village of Shamli district, says he sells his sugarcane to Shamli Sugar Mill. He is a marginal farmer.  Singh says Shamli Mill has made the payment only till December 2022, whereas now the new crushing season has started. Due to non-payment for such a long time, they are facing a lot of financial problems. Singh says has not been able to repay the loan for the previous crop, while the current crop is ready to be harvested. The plight of thousands of farmers in Shamli district is similar.

BKU members are also holding an indefinite protest in Greater Noida, focusing on issues like securing higher compensation for land acquired by the government in the past, the union's local representative, Subhash Choudhary, told NewsClick.

Sharing pictures of his participation in a farmer-labourer 'mahapanchayat' organised at Zero Point in Gautam Buddh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, Tikait posted on social media, "Took part in the farmer-laborer 'mahapanchayat' organized at the Zero Point in Gautam Buddh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh and addressed the assembly."

He said, "The government cannot suppress the voice of farmers by filing fake cases. Our struggle for the farmers of the country will continue until our last breath."

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram