Ahead of the crucial assembly polls and a day before the nationwide bandh called by the agitating farmers, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced a Rs 25 per quintal hike in the state advised price (SAP) or purchase price of sugarcane for the 2021-22 season that commences from October 1.
The hike which is among the highest in the tenure of the BJP Government in UP for sugarcane farmers, might not be enough be assuage the protesting farmers, a sizeable chunk of whom come from the sugarcane growing western part of the state.
The farmers have been a demanding a sugarcane SAP in excess of Rs 425 per quintal due to increase in diesel rates and other production costs and because purchase prices haven’t been raised for the past three years.
“The meagre Rs 25 per quintal hike in prices is a big joke by the UP government on the farmers as prices in neighbouring states is more than Rs 360 per quintal for sugarcane while electricity rates are also higher in UP. Even, BJP’s own Member of Parliament, Varun Gandhi has demanded a price of Rs 400 per quintal for sugarcane,” Dharmendra Malik, spokesperson of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), one of the main groups spearheading the more than 10-month long agitation said in a statement.
Sudhir Panwar, Samajwadi Party leader and an expert on farm issues termed the hike as disproportionate to increase in the input cost on account of diesel, power, labour, insecticide and pesticides.
“Even the Government failed to transfer the profit accrued by mills on account of increase in sugar price of Rs 800/quintal to sugarcane farmers. The profit margins of mills on account of current sugar price is Rs 96/quintal of sugarcane, at 12 per cent recovery from which only Rs 25/quintal has been transferred to farmers by way of higher SAP,” Panwar said.
Meanwhile, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, addressing a farmers meet in Lucknow organised by the BJP’s Kisan Morcha said the hike will enable the sugarcane farmers to increase their income by 8 per cent, and will transform the lives of 4.5 million farmers.
He also said that 119 sugar mills will be operated, and they will be linked with ethanol.
“In Uttar Pradesh, there are three varieties of sugarcane–early, ordinary and rejected. The early variety constitutes 97 per cent of the sugarcane cultivated (in the state), followed by 2.7 per cent of the ordinary variety and the rejected variety, which constitutes barely 0.3 per cent. The purchase price of the early variety has been increased from Rs 325 per quintal to Rs 350 per quintal,” UP’s Sugarcane Development and Sugar Mills Minister Suresh Rana told PTI.
He said similarly, the SAP of the ordinary variety has been increased to Rs 340 per quintal from Rs 315 per quintal and that of the rejected variety from Rs 305 per quintal to Rs 330 per quintal.
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