The farmers have been expecting an increase in the SAP this year. But, according to sources, the government is waiting to see the outcome of the farmers’ protest before fixing the SAP though there is pressure on the government to increase the SAP.
The Central government had announced the fair and remunerative (FRP) price for sugarcane for 2020-21 in August last year. It had increased FRP by Rs 10 to Rs 285. Additionally, the Centre has recommended increasing the minimum selling price of sugar by Rs 2 per kg to Rs 33.
The SAP in Uttar Pradesh has always been higher than the Centre’s FRP.
According to reports, Uttar Pradesh farmers were the worst-affected as dues stood at Rs 10,174 crore in October 2020. The amount has only increased. The unpaid dues stood at Rs 39 crore for 2017-18 while for 2016-17 and previous years, the arrears amounted to Rs 135 crore.
Since 1999, the BJP has been in power in Uttar Pradesh for six years and during these years, SAP for sugarcane was increased by Rs 20 only. The biggest hike of Rs 40 per quintal in sugarcane’s SAP happened in 2012-13 during the tenure of the Akhilesh Yadav government.
This is not the only issue bothering farmers. “Even with our dues piling up, the government has been increasing the electricity rates for farms every year. Earlier it was Rs 800 per connection and now it has reached Rs 1,700 per connection. Ever since the BJP government has come to power in Uttar Pradesh, they have continuously increased the power tariff. The price of fertilisers has risen too,” added Kumar.
Uttar Pradesh’s electricity tariff is the highest in the country. The Yogi Adityanath-led government had increased the power tariff in 2017, followed by another hike in 2019. In 2017, the Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) announced a hike of 12% in power tariff and in 2019, a hike of 8% to 12% was approved.