It needs to be mentioned here that a number of farmers, mainly sugarcane growers, have not received their dues since a long period of time and the irony is that most of the political parties are non-committal on this issue.

This sugarcane issue has in fact polarized a sizeable chunk of farmers’ community against the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre. The people have also severe disenchantment with Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh, who is coming from sugarcane producing belt.

The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) had warned the state government as well as farmers well before the beginning of sugarcane producing season that the total outstanding till March will touch Rs 10,000 crore. According to ISMA, this outstanding bill has now gone to a mindboggling figure of Rs 10,5000.

In order to woo the sugarcane growers, the state government had doled out a concessionary package of around Rs 6,600 crore. Besides, the Central government had also constituted a committee to arrange financial avenues to make sugar mills free from any kind of interest.

Out of this, the sugar mills located in Uttar Pradesh had an outstanding amount to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore. What’s indeed strange is that in spite of a series of assistances provided by the government, the farmers are yet to receive their payments and have been left to fend on their own.

Along with communal polarization, this issue has also become another subsidiary for the upcoming Assembly elections.

On the other hand, the sugar industry has dismissed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s claim that he had paid farmers their due at Rs 280 per quintal before the mills stopped crushing of the canes.

Though this issue is sure to have an impact on the outcome of the upcoming Assembly elections, the farmers are also facing a tough time in negotiating this problem.

JPN/Bureau

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