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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 31, 2007
UP sugarcane growers and sugar mills owners lock horns
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UP sugarcane growers and sugar mills owners lock horns

After toiling in the field in the hope of procuring a rich harvest, sugarcane growers in Uttar Pradeshs Bijnore District fear their hard labour will be in vain.

Bijnore (Uttar Pradesh), May 31 : After toiling in the field in the hope of procuring a rich harvest, sugarcane growers in Uttar Pradesh's Bijnore District fear their hard labour will be in vain.

Farmers are blaming the sugar mills for this discouraging trend.According to the farmers, sugar mill manager have exhibited hostility towards the growers. Out of nine sugar mills existing in the district, only one is purchasing sugarcane, and it happens to be Government-run.

The farmers are of the view that even this might cease since the sugar mill lobby could effectively promote anti-farmer policies.

Consequently, the growers are a worried a lot. Their concern is about the unsold sugarcane. The absence of an income-generating avenue is being felt acutely.

"A huge quantity of sugarcane is lying in the field and is yet to be sold. I have to marry my daughter. And, there are other works to be done," said Sheela Devi, a farmer.

Frustrated farmers have accused sugar mill owners of refusing to give water for bullocks and camels which haul the sugarcane laden carts to mill gates and yards.

"There are so many problems at the mills. The coupons to weigh one's produce are given after three-four hours. There is no facility of drinkable water for us as well as for the animals drawing our carts. We have to keep waiting there for long hours after bringing our yield from far-off villages and fields. There is too much of mismanagement at the mills", said Lakhvir Singh, another farmer.

The management at the Government-run sugar mill counters the farmers' allegations. It claims to have all basic facilities at the mill, including water for animals which haul the produce in carts. The management also denies the death of any animal for want of water.

"An animal of a farmer died, but it was not due to the scarcity of drinking water. Since he was our farmer, we provided him compensation on humanitarian grounds for his dead animal. Yet, baseless charges are levied against sugar mills," said A K Mishra, the Manager of the mill.

About 45 million sugarcane farmers, their dependents and a large mass of agricultural labourers are involved in sugarcane cultivation. Besides, about half a million skilled and semi-skilled workers, mostly from rural areas, are engaged in the sugar industry.

Uttar Pradesh has the largest area of two million hectare in the country for the sugarcane crop. But the production per hectare is the highest in Tamil Nadu, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra.

For 2006-07, estimates of a bumper sugarcane crop spelt sugar production of at least 23 million tonne (some peg the estimates at 25 million tonne), compared to 19.2 million tonne last year.


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