Nov 26 : Maharashtra sugarcare farmers continue agitation; Naxalites support stir

November 26, 2012

Sugarcane price row: Maharashtra farmers threaten to stop sugar trucks
Rahul Wadke

Mumbai, Nov. 22:

Farmers associations in Maharashtra, that have been agitating for higher sugarcane prices have threatened to stop trucks leaving sugar mills, with processed sugar and other by-products.

Due to the substantial increase in the input cost of sugarcane, farmers are seeking Rs 3,000 a tonne from co-operative sugar mills. The price offered by a number of mills is in the range of Rs 2,300.

Farmers association are being led by three units – Member of Parliament Raju Shetti of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, Maharashtra Shetkari Sanghtana of Raghunathdada Patil and Shetkari Sanghtana of Sharad Joshi. Raghunathdada Patil told Business Line that the three associations have decided to block the movements of trucks, so that there is a shortage in the market.

This, he said, will force the sugar mills and the State Government to come to the negotiating table. Patil said that blocking of trucks is a part of a new strategy and it would be launched after November 29. Earlier, the associations were asking farmers not to sell sugarcane to the mills, “Now farmers can sell sugarcane, but we will ensure that sugar does not leave the mills,” said Patil.

Under pressure from farmers, some mills have decided to offer more than Rs 2,300 for the sugarcane. But the associations are adamant and are demanding Rs 3,000 . “In order to further unify the farmers for this agitation, the urns carrying ashes of the two farmers, who were killed in the agitation, would be taken across the State. It will further galvanise the farmers against the mills,” Patil said.

He said that the associations were also in touch with similar farmers association across the State and groups in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Patil added that a consensus would be taken on carrying out a protest march on December 13, at Jantar Mantar, in New Delhi.

A senior management member of a co-operative sugar mill said, on the condition of anonymity, that buying sugarcane at Rs 3,000 a tonne was not viable. He said farmers were not adding value to the sugarcane and the sugar recovery from the cane was stagnant at 11.5 per cent.


Naxals support cane growers’ stir, call government oppressive
Soumittra S Bose, TNN Nov 24, 2012, 04.36AM IST

NAGPUR: Naxalites have come out in support of sugarcane farmers’ of western Maharashtra agitating for higher prices for their produce. The Maoists have blamed state home minister and other ministers for stifling the protests.

The Maharashtra state committee of Communist Party of India (Maoist), through a press release, said government was suppressing the farmers’ agitation. The outfit also claims that state government’s oppressive measures through police, whether against tribal farmers growing paddy in Gadchiroli or western Maharashtra’s sugarcane growers, showed its anti-farmer stance and also tendency to silence any voice of dissent. State home and guardian minister of Gadchiroli RR Patil has been criticized for police firing on the agitators. Former deputy CM Ajit Pawar too has been targeted.

The Naxals’ openly coming out to express solidarity with sugarcane farmers now is likely to leave the security agencies with some brainstorming to do. The Naxals are learnt to be trying to infiltrate the organizations working with the agrarian issues, tribal, displaced people, industrial labourers and backward classes apart from the students and intellectual bodies. Their objective is to bring the different anti-government forces together and stage violent agitations. The security agencies did not rule out Naxal brain behind the violent agitation at the Maruti Suzuki’s plant at Manesar, where one senior executive died and many others were injured.

The farmers’ protests, which spanned across different districts like Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur, Satara and others, saw deaths of two farmers including one due to police firing earlier this month. Many others were injured. The agitators also resorted to violence torching state transport buses and police jeep.

The Naxals have launched an attack on chief minister Prithviraj Chavan stating that his distancing himself from the issue by stating that price was not government’s lookout had exposed his anti-farmer stand. Police’s relentless action on peasants with lathi-charges and firing apart from jailing the leaders spearheading the protest also indicated the same, the release said.

The Naxals alleged that the state government was siding with sugar barons who have been exploiting the farmers.