Zee Media Bureau
Lucknow: Sugarcane growers on Friday launched protest here over suicide case of a farmer while demanding immediate starting of crushing private mills and compensation to the farmer.
A security guard today opened fire when a number of cane growers, agitated over a farmer`s suicide and had `gheraoed` a sugar mill in Lakhimpur.
No one was injured in the firing which was done to prevent protesting farmers from entering the sugar mill, IG (establishment) Vitul Kumar told reporters here, adding no FIR has been registered in the matter.
Satyapal Singh, a sugarcane farmer, committed suicide yesterday over heavy debts and prolonged illness.
Meanwhile, the state government alleged that the sugar mill owners have adopted "non-cooperation and insensitive approach" towards the problem and were not starting the crushing on the declared cane price of Rs 280 per quintal.
"The non-cooperation and insensitive approach of sugar mills is not justified. The farmers are worried and state government had held a number of talks with them and also assured relaxations for them.
"We have agreed on entry tax rebate, which would incur profit of Rs 219 crore to them. They should immeidately start crushing", cabinet minister Rajendra Chowdhury said.
He also blamed Congress-led Centre for not cooperating to deal with the situation.
He warned sugar mills of strict action if they did not start crushing stating that interest of 40 lakh cane growers could not be ignored.
Meanwhile BKU activists continued their protest outside District Magistrate`s office in Muzaffarnagar for the third day today.
The protests continued even as district authorities registered cases against the owners of six sugar mills - Khatoli sugar mill, Mansoorpur sugar mill and Titawi sugar mill, Tikola sugar mill, Khaikheri sugar mill and Bhensani sugar mill - for not starting crushing canes.
Most of the 99 private sugar mills have refused to start crushing citing the high purchase price of sugarcane and pending arrears, despite several rounds of talks with the state government.
There are 123 sugar mills in the state and farmers supply them cane worth Rs 22,500 crores every year.