BKU to start major campaign in UP from Aug 1 to highlight problems of farmers

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Ghaziabad, Jul 8 (PTI) The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) on Thursday announced it would begin district-level meetings in Uttar Pradesh from August to highlight the problems of farmers and other issues in the country.

The focus of the campaign would be to flag high power tariff and pending sugarcane dues in the Yogi Adityanath-led state, the BKU, which has been protesting under the Samyukta Kisan Morcha's banner against the new farm laws at Ghazipur on Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border since November 2020, said.

BKU's national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said a major meeting of the mandal-level (zonal-level) committees of his farmers' union is scheduled on July 11 to discuss the strategy for the campaign.

'The campaign would begin from August 1 in each district spread across the 18 mandals of the state,' Tikait said at a press conference at Ghazipur border.

August 1 onwards the mandal-level committees will work in each district of their area to highlight the problems of the three farm laws and whatever else is happening in the state and rest of the country, he said.

'During such awareness drives, special focus would be laid on the high price of electricity in Uttar Pradesh and the pending dues of sugarcane to farmers,' he said.

The BKU claimed that Rs 8,500 crore in sugarcane dues are pending towards farmers in the state. It also claimed that 1 kilo watt of power, which costs Rs 35 in Haryana, is charged at Rs 175 in UP even when both the states have a BJP government.

It claimed that the farmers of Uttar Pradesh, especially those engaged in sugarcane, potato and wheat, are on the verge of destruction.

'Our programme is that our people will go village to village in each district and hold meetings to highlight these issues among others like health and education situation,' Tikait said.

'All through this process, the protest at (Ghazipur) border would continue as such and we will follow the calls of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha too,' he added. Farmer leader Yudhveer Singh said the protest against the contentious farm laws is already in its eighth month and efforts are on to get talks with the Centre resumed on it.

'However, there are several other issues plaguing the state of UP which need to be taken up and highlighted. Like there's Rs 8,500 crore of sugarcane dues pending on the UP government. They talk big but do nothing,' Singh said.

'Similarly, the farmers are facing a double whammy because of power issues. First, they are being exploited because of high power rates and second they are forced to increase the power of their motors (used for watering farms), thereby increasing the load on farmers,' he claimed.

BKU media-in charge Dharmendra Malik said the UP government should provide monetary compensation to farmers who died during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added that time duration of power supply in rural areas has been reduced from 18 hours to 12-16 hours in the state while the tariff increased, and demanded that the UP government look into the issue and make changes. PTI KIS/COR KJ KJ

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