New Delhi: With their demand for Rs.300 per quintal pricing for sugarcane still unmet and sugar mills yet to start crushing operations, sugarcane farmers in Uttar Pradesh are an unhappy a lot on Diwali, said a farmers' representative.

According to Sudhir Panwar of Kisan Jagriti Manch,"the sugar season is considered from Oct 1 but the state government has not yet decided on the sugarcane pricing and the sugar mills have yet to start operations".
"The farmers are being forced to sell their crop at Rs.200-Rs.220 a quintal to crushers, which is much below the input prices," Panwar said.

He cited the example of Vineet Chaudhry from Bareilly who had to sell his sugarcane produce at Rs 200 a quintal as "he needed the money for Diwali festival and he has no other source of income".

Diwali is when the demand for sugar usually peaks.According to Panwar, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav assured the farmers Saturday in Meerut that his government would soon declare the minimum support price for sugarcane and start the sugar mills from Nov 25.

Panwar demanded that the crushing of cane should start early and the declaration of State Advised Price at Rs.300 a quintal should be made on the eve of Diwali "so that farmers can also celebrate the festival of lights with happiness".

Panwar said the pricing of sugarcane is dependent on input prices, which has increased 22 percent.
He said two reports, including by the government-controlled Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, had said that the input prices had increased 22 percent.

"Last year the input price was Rs.187 per quintal, and this year it ranges between Rs.228 to 234 per quintal.. the input price has increased by 22 percent," said Panwar."

So if the input rise is reflected in state advised price (SAP), then the price would naturally come to 300 per quintal," he added.

(Agencies)

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