The issue related to arrears on sugarcane is likely to give a bitter taste to those in fray from constituencies on West Uttar Pradesh as farmers, who were at receiving end of the faulty policies of different governments, are up in ante on the issue and plan to choose one who comes with a definite solution to age old problem. The grand alliance partner Rashtriya Lok Dal hopes to gain a mileage out of the issue.
As per dossiers, an arrear of about Rs 9,836 crore is due to sugarcane growers. In the last crushing season, the farmers are yet to get their arrears which amounted to Rs 236 crore. “Out of the total 48 per cent of sugarcane fields in UP, the West UP have about 23 per cent of sugarcane fields. The farmers come from the districts like Gaziabad, Hapur, Bijnaur, Badayun, Bulandsahar, Baghpat and Muzaffarpur districts. They are up in arms over the delay in the payment of the arrears as growing sugarcane is the only means for them to earn livelihood,’ a senior leader in RLD said.
He said the economy of West UP is based on sugarcane. “In the past, several mills were closed while several worked with their a half of efficiency. This is also an issue in the Loksabah election this year,’ he said. The sources said the RLD was hopeful to get mileage out of the farmers’ unrest on the issue. “The BJP was in power in centre but it did nothing for the farmers. The BJP government in also did nothing on clearing the arrears of the farmers and redressing the woes of the sugarcane growers. The RLD is banking on the sugarcane issue to woo the farmers in their favour in the election,’ the sources said. They said the farmers, however, are treading cautiously on the issue. “The problem is age old. The political parties used to make it issue in election and later forget to address the same. The farmers are looking for one who could really solve the issue,’ a West UP leader said.
National spokesman of Rashtriya Lok Dal Anil Dubey said the government owed about Rs 1300 crore arrears to sugarcane growers for the current year 2018-19 only. “The UP government is speaking lie on payment of arrears of sugarcane growers as they far defeat in the loksabah election. The government had to pay about Rs 2500 as interest to the sugarcane growers besides the arrears. For five year of their governance in centre and 2 year governance in UP, the BJP did nothing. Now it is propagating that it had cleared almost of the arrears,,’ he pointed out.
Dubey said due to faulty policy of the BJP government the Simbhawali Sugar Mill Group in Hapur and the Bajaj Groups of Mill did not pay the arrears as yet. “These mills owe above 88 per cent of payment in the current sugarcane crushing season. Similarly, other sugar mills owe above 51 per cent of payment in the current session. The expense on the daily need of the farmers is solely based on sugarcane. They have to take money at a high interest from money lenders to meet the expense on medical, marriage, education,’ he pointed out.
MP and UP Incharge of Aam Admi Party, Sanjay Singh hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on SRAB which he coined from Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party and said Modi was nervous after the alliance of dalits, minorities, backwards, youths and farmers anticipating defeat in Loksabah election and that was why he was terming their alliance as SRAB.
“The people of UP had given Modi a full majority hoping he would do good to them. But they were highly disappointed as the PM did nothing but zumlebazi. There was no developmental work in UP during the BJP ruling,’ Singh said. He said the people of West UP were demanding setting of a high court in their land for a long time. “The demand was genuine but the BJP did nothing when it was power in centre. On Thursday when hundreds of advocates of West UP tried to raise their voice during a public meeting being addressed by Modi, the government got the advocates arrested,” the AAP leader said.
Singh said the BJP ignored the woes of sugarcane growers constantly and did not fulfill its promise. “The farmers were forced to destroy their produce. They did not get their arrears cleared as yet. The youths and farmers kept staging protest to press their demand, but the BJP government did not pay heed to them. Now the Loksabha election is to take place, the BJP leaders are shedding crocodile tears claiming they are with the farmers,’ he said.
State spokesman AAP, Mahendra Singh said the BJP government countered the protest by ordering police to cane charge the youths protesting against their faulty policies and demanding job.