Maha sugarcane farmers
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Maha sugarcane farmers continue to protest government apathy
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Maha sugarcane farmers continue to protest government apathy

Protest by sugarcane farmers of Maharashtra against the governments failure to bail out the crisis of plenty, is continuing here on Sunday.

Aurangabad (Maharashtra), May 20 : Protest by sugarcane farmers of Maharashtra against the government's failure to bail out the crisis of plenty, is continuing here on Sunday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has joined the farmers, who took out a protest with truckloads of sugarcane, in a bid to draw the state government's attention to the crisis.

"We had congregated in a democratic fashion. In Maharashtra, 40 lakh tonnes of sugarcane has not been crushed despite the fact that the sugar factories will be running till June. We had demanded help to the tune of rupees 40,000 per hectare, the cooperative minister was supposed to come and we wanted to meet him and seek justice, we did not get justice. Instead, they tried to suppress the demonstration," said BJP leader Gopinath Munde.

Marathwada region, known as the sugar belt of Maharashtra, observed a shut down on Saturday to protest the police action against sugar farmers during a demonstration rally.

The state government has announced compensation for the sugarcane farmers. However, farmers said it would not cover their loss, which they claimed, were worth millions of rupees.The mill owners justify their decision of not buying excess crop stating that they end up losing money, since they have already bought sugarcane up to the capacity of their mills.

Maharashtra had 163 sugar mills across the State, out of which 52 have been shut down permanently.

State officials say they are saddled with a peculiar problem of excess crop during this season, perhaps for the first time.

"Till now 728,00,000 metric tonnes of sugarcane has been cut and delivered to sugar mills till date. And in future around 32, 00, 000 sugarcane crop is expected to be cut and delivered. This is happening for the first time in Maharashtra...The State Government has decided to give 25,000 rupees as compensation to the farmers," said Sugar Director of Pune, Raj Gopal Deora.

The state has witnessed large scale suicides by farmers in recent past, mostly cotton growers. In 2006 alone 1,448 farmers committed suicide and it is continuing despite various attempts by the State and Central governments.

ANI

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