Haryana Sugarcane Farmers Start Indefinite Protest Outside Mills Over Price
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Sugarcane farmers started an indefinite demonstration outside Naraingarh Sugar Mills, Ambala, and Shahabad Sugar Mills, Kurukshetra, on Friday after stopping the supply of sugarcane indefinitely in Haryana demanding a hike in the state advisory price (SAP) from Rs 362 to Rs 450 per quintal.
Acting on a call given by the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Charuni) and the Ganna Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, the farmers have decided to hold a state-level meeting on January 23 to decide their future course of action, The Tribune reported.
The farmers raised anti-government slogans, accused it of betraying them, and warned that the supply wouldn’t resume unless the prices are increased. The farmers also locked the gate of Shahabad Sugar Mill.
Giving an ultimatum till January 22, BKU (Charuni) chief Gurnam Singh Charuni announced that sugar mills had been closed indefinitely. If the price is not increased by January 22, the union will hold a state-level meeting in Kurukshetra on January 23 to decide the future course of action.
“The government has forced the farmers to take this step as it has not declared the SAP for 2022-23 so far. The delay in declaring the SAP is a step to harass the farmers while Punjab has already hiked the price,” said Ajay Rana, Karnal district president, BKU (Charuni).
Protesting farmers in Rohtak pointed out that one quintal of sugarcane fetches Rs 380 in the neighbouring state of Punjab. Even bagasse, the residue left after crushing sugarcane, sells for Rs 400 per quintal, they said. They shut the two sugar mills in Meham town and Bhali Anandpur village.
BKU (Charuni) leader Jasbir Singh Mamumajra said that the “input cost and inflation have increased, but the government has not increased the SAP”.
In Naraingarh, farmers started a dharna in front of the gate of the sugar mill. BKU (Charuni) spokesman Rajiv Sharma said: “As per the call given by the union, the farmers had stopped harvesting and now no sugarcane farmer will bring the produce to the sugar mill for crushing.”
In Karnal, farmers protested outside Piccadilly Sugar Mill, Bhadson; Karnal Cooperative Sugar Mill (Karnal) and Hafed Sugar mill (Assandh). The gates of the three mills would remain closed until the demands are met, farmer leaders said. In Yamunanagar, farmers closed the gates of Saraswati Sugar Mills.
On Friday, farmers locked the entrances of all sugar mills and stopped the entry of tractors loaded with sugarcane amid heavy police presence in the state in the wee hours, Hindustan Times reported. In a statement, Charuni said that all 14 mills had been locked and that there would be no crushing operations till the price is increased.
In Kaithal, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala extended support to the protesting farmers and accused the BJP-JJP government of harassing farmers. Since Haryana is known for providing the highest sugarcane prices in the country, the price should be increased beyond Punjab’s Rs 380, he added.
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