In a major decision barely months ahead of the upcoming 2022 Assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday announced a Rs 25 per quintal hike in the purchase prices of sugarcane in the state. UP farmers will receive Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 crore more this year due to this increase. 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 the variety of sugarcane for which Rs 325 per quintal was paid to farmers, that price has been increased to Rs 350, which will be paid to farmers.” “The government has also decided to increase the price of ordinary sugarcane variety, to Rs 340 (per quintal) up from Rs 315 (per quintal). The government has also decided to the hike the value of the ‘anupyukt’ (less yielding) variety of sugarcane by Rs 25 per quintal.”
Elaborating about the benefits, Adityanath said that this will enable the sugarcane farmers to increase their income by 8 per cent, and will be a transformation in the lives of 45 lakh farmers. He also said that 119 sugar mills will be operated, and they will 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.”
“The MSP (minimum support price) of the early variety has been increased from Rs 325 per quintal to Rs 350 per quintal. Similarly, the MSP of the ordinary variety has been increased to Rs 340 per quintal from Rs 315 per quintal. As far as the rejected variety is concerned, its MSP has been increased from Rs 305 per quintal to Rs 330 per quintal.” Without taking any name, Adityanath sought to remind the audience about the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, and said, “If anybody died in the Muzaffarnagr 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. I asked why so much of anarchy is present, and I was told that if a person riding a buffalo-cart leaves the cart for 5-10 minutes, the buffalo will disappear. Today, all the illegal slaughter houses in the state have been closed, and stray cows are being taken care of.” The UP Chief Minister termed the tenure of the non-BJP governments as “an era of darkness”. “At that time, the farmers were committing suicide, while the poor were dying of hunger.
But, as soon as Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, there was a ‘bhaagyodaya (advent of good luck)’ for the country. 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 the farmers,” Adityanath said.
He claimed that no farmer committed suicide in the country from 2014 to 2021. 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.
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 Rs 80, while another government had increased it by Rs 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. The mahapanchayat was organised by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) at the Government Inter College ground in Muzaffarnagar in protest against the Centre’s controversial farm laws.