Punjab: Sugarcane Farmers Call Out Govt for ‘Fake Sympathy’
Farmers allege that they have not been paid their dues in over a year by the government and privatised sugar mills.
Sugarcane farmers in Punjab, who were protesting in Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur against the lack of payment of dues for the sugarcane by the government on December 4, have reportedly called out the state government for its “fake sympathy” towards them.
Tribune reported that the sugarcane farmers have not been paid their dues in over a year by the government and privatised sugar mills. Reportedly, farmers are owed to the tune of around Rs 400 crores, with marginal farmers awaiting payment of around Rs 15-25 lakhs. These farmers had opted for sugarcane farming under the state government’s crop diversification initiative.
The farmers have also alleged that although the state government bragged about its crop diversification initiative, it did not care much about the sustenance of the farmers through the program. Slamming the government, farmers said that it would be better if government officials would refrain from speaking about the initiative.
Responding to the farmers’ protest, the government has promised immediate payment of Rs 100 crores to the farmers. “As per average estimate, on Rs 25 lakh, the interest comes to around Rs 3 lakh per year. If this interest is added while calculating the cost, the price of the sugarcane being provided by the government will have to be recalculated,” Satnam Singh, the spokesperson for the Doaba Kisan Sangharsh Committee said.
The government has promised payment of the remaining sum by January 15, 2019. The protesting farmers in Kapurthala called off the protests after Mohammed Tayyab, Kapurthala district commissioner promised the release of funds by the said date.