New Delhi: In the wake of a sugarcane farmer committing suicide in Uttar Pradesh, BJP asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to provide necessary relief to cane growers in UP, Maharashtra and Karnataka and ensure that their previous dues are paid.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, party president Rajnath Singh said the crisis faced by sugarcane farmers has emerged due to "anti-farmer policies" of the government and its "insensitivity" towards the farming community.
The former Agriculture Minister alleged that in UP the sugarcane farmers have been forced to sell their crop at throwaway prices.
"The UP government has compounded the problems by not clearing the previous year`s overdue payments worth Rs 2,300 crores. The sugarcane crop is still standing in the fields and farmers cannot sow Rabi crops as crushing is yet to begin in more than 60 sugar mills of UP," Singh said.
Drawing the PM`s attention to the plight of farmers in Maharashtra and Karnataka as well, Singh said farmers there have committed suicide as sugar mills have not started their crushing season.
"Though the Centre has appointed a three-member committee, it has failed to comprehend the gravity of the situation. Therefore, I urge that Central government must immediately intervene with necessary packages to salvage the crisis in sugar industry in the country," Singh said.
He demanded that the Centre should act fast and intervene to provide necessary relief to farmers and ensure that sugar mills start crushing and the farmers are paid their dues of previous years.
Singh further said that cyclones like Phailin and Helen have damaged crops in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Vidarbha and other regions but unfortunately the Centre has failed to provide them a helping hand.
He also claimed that the peace clause - which would exempt subsidies in excess of 10 per cent of limit for four years - being negotiated with WTO will hamper India`s food security programme. He said a "Food security Box" should be included here.
In Uttar Pradesh, a sugarcane farmer allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in Lakhimpur Kheri district on November 28 over heavy debts and prolonged illness.
In the suicide note addressed to Bhira police station SHO, the farmers mentioned about debts of "Rs 1 lakh of Allahabad Bank, Rs 70,000 of UP Land Development Bank, Rs 38,000 of Bastauli Cane Society and Rs 20,000 of Bhira Cane Society.