While sugarcane payment dues to farmers in Uttar Pradesh touched nearly Rs 19,000 crore, the Yogi Adityanath-led government has come up with a decision that has drawn a lot of flak. Chief Minister Adityanath has suggested to the youth in the state that they start a business of sugarcane juice. If for such a business they desire loan, it could be provided loan under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), the CM said.
This step by the CM is aimed at clearing the arrears of the sugarcane farmers, supporting the sugar mills financially and creating jobs for unemployed youths.
To start the sugarcane juice business, the government has said that they will provide a loan worth between Rs 50,000 to Rs 15,00,000 under Mudra Yojana. However, experts believe that instead of solving the sugarcane farmers’ issue, the government is making fun of both farmers and unemployed youths.
Meanwhile, according to government data, the total dues of sugarcane farmers as on June 18 of the 2018-19 marketing year (October-September) stood at Rs 18,958 crore.
Commenting over this development, NK Shukla, joint secretary, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), told NewsClick, "This is a mockery of farmers and youth and it is not going to help either. In summers, you can spot street vendors who sell sugarcane juice, but not in any other season. This juice business will not be profitable throughout the year. PM Modi wanted youth to sell pakoras and now Adityanath wants them to sell juice.”
According to the Sugar (Control) Order, 1966, the payment of cane farmers should be done within 14 days. If this is not done, it is the district magistrate's responsibility of that area to force the mill to pay the farmers. But this Order has hardly ever been implemented.
Shukla said, “Despite having said in their manifesto that all the dues of the cane farmers will be cleared, this government is just trying to fool people by bringing in such ideas.”
Ramchandra Singh, president of Bharatiya Kisan Union of Kushinagar, who has been protesting since past 18 days along with hundred cane farmers to open Laxmiganj sugar mill, slammed the Adityanath government for making fun of the farmers. He told NewsClick, "Once, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had asked the farmers of the state in Baghpat to focus on crops other than sugarcane as excessive production of sugar leads to more consumption, and consequently, to diabetes. And now, this. It is beyond my understanding how sugarcane juice stalls can help clearing dues worth Rs 19,000 crore. Meanwhile, asking the educated youth to sell sugarcane juice proves that this government cannot provide jobs to them."
Meanwhile, the Adityanath government has claimed that launching tetra packs of sugarcane juice will financially strengthen the farmers. This way, sugarcane farmers can be paid from time to time and the common man can also get sugarcane juice available at low cost, it believes. Experts, however, point out that sugarcane juice is not drinkable throughout the year.