Hundreds of UP farmers march towards Delhi over mounting sugarcane dues

Protest march of farmers starts from Noida to Kisan Ghat on Saturday. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Hundreds of farmers from Uttar Pradesh have begun their march towards Kisan Ghat in Delhi on Saturday to protest against the poor state of the agrarian sector. Holding the BJP government responsible at the Centre and state, the Bhartiya Kisan Sangathan (BKS) has demanded 15 promises including immediate payment of sugarcane crop dues, complete loan waiver, making electricity used in farming free and pension for aged farmers.

The farmers also demanded that the cow maintenance fee set by the UP government at Rs 30 per day should be increased to Rs 300 per day.

Joint Commissioner of Police, East Range-Delhi at Delhi-UP border near Ghazipur said, "we are coordinating with UP police. Approximately 500 farmers are on their way here."

On Friday, the protesters had reached Noida where representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare met them. The farmers began marching on September 11.

UP minister of sugarcane development and sugarcane mills Suresh Rana said the Uttar Pradesh government has set October 31 as the deadline for sugar mills to clear dues of cane growers.

Warning strict action against defaulters Rana said, "dues of the growers should be settled by October end, before the crushing season begins, failing which recovery certificates will be issued and farmers will be paid by selling sugar from the godowns."

On Wednesday, the Allahabad High Court directed the state government to clear dues of sugarcane growers on a plea by two farmers who said that they had grown the crop after taking loans from banks but they were not in a position to repay due to the non-payment of their dues.