In a major decision barely months ahead of the upcoming 2022 Assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday announced a ₹25 per quintal hike in the purchase prices of sugarcane in the State.
The decision of the Yogi Adityanath government also assumes significance as it came barely a day before the ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha.
Addressing a meeting of farmers here organised by the BJP’s Kisan Morcha, Adityanath said, “The government has decided that for the variety of sugarcane for which ₹325 per quintal was paid to farmers, the price has been increased to ₹350, which will be paid to farmers.”
“The government has also decided to increase the price of ordinary sugarcane variety, to ₹340 (per quintal) up from ₹315 (per quintal). The government has also decided to hike the value of the ‘anupyukt’ (less yielding) variety of sugarcane by ₹25 per quintal.” Elaborating on the benefits, Adityanath said this would enable sugarcane farmers to increase their income by 8 per cent, and be a transformation in the lives of 45 lakh farmers.
He also said that 119 sugar mills would be operated, and they would be linked with ethanol. The new sugar season starts from next month.
When contacted, UP’s Sugarcane Development and Sugar Mills Minister Suresh Rana told PTI, “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.”
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“The MSP (minimum support price) of the early variety has been increased from ₹325 per quintal to ₹350 per quintal. Similarly, the MSP of the ordinary variety has been increased to ₹340 per quintal from ₹315 per quintal. As far as the rejected variety is concerned, its MSP has been increased from ₹305 per quintal to ₹330 per quintal.”
‘Era of darkness’
Without taking any name, Adityanath said, “If anybody died in the Muzaffarnagar riots, then it was a farmer. If somebody lost his life, it was a farmer’s son. The then government used to honour the rioters, but in four-and-a-half years of our rule, there have been no riots.”
Recalling another anecdote, Adityanath said, “Once an MP from the west (UP) informed me about rampant theft of cows and buffaloes. Today, all the illegal slaughter houses in the State have been closed, and stray cows are being taken care of.”
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The UP chief minister termed the tenure of the non-BJP governments as “an era of darkness”.
When the farmers were committing suicide, neither the SP was saying anything nor the BSP. The Congress was not left in a position to speak. Even then, we fought for farmers, Adityanath said.
He claimed that no farmer committed suicide in the country from 2014 to 2021.
He added that in the regime of the SP and the BSP, sugar mills were sold, ruining sugarcane farmers. “Today, our government has reopened closed sugar mills, and established new sugar mills, thereby working to bring a transformation in the lives of the sugarcane farmers.” Adityanath also said that when the ‘annadata’ farmers are prosperous, the State will move fast on the path of development.
“Foodgrains are the foundation of the life cycle, and the foundation of foodgrains is farmer. Whether it is day, night, cold or hot weather, farmers produce foodgrains with their hard work,” Adityanath said, and added that “prosperous agriculture and happy farmers are the new identity of Uttar Pradesh”.
BJP vice-president and UP in-charge Radha Mohan Singh, UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and UP’s Agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi were also present at the programme.
‘Injustice to farmers’
On September 5, during the “Kisan Mahapanchayat” in Muzaffarnagar, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait had targeted the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh over sugarcane prices.
“This (Muzaffarnagar) is the sugarcane belt. There was a government which had raised the sugarcane price by ₹80, while another government had increased it by ₹50. Is the Adityanath government weaker than these two dispensations? It did not increase the price even by one rupee.
“This government should be given ‘vote ki chhott’ (electoral defeat). The slogan of ‘fasalon ke daam nahi, to vote nahi’ (no fair price for crops, no votes) will have to be raised,” Tikait said at the mega rally attended by farmers from UP and neighbouring States.
Meanwhile, reacting to the hike in the purchase price of sugarcane, national secretary of Rashtriya Lok Dal, Anil Dubey, in a statement said that a ₹25 per quintal increase in the purchase price of sugarcane is an injustice to the farmers, and demanded that the price should be fixed at least at ₹450 per quintal.