Farmers not paid ₹21,000 crore for cane supplied to sugar mills, All India Kisan Sabha says

Joint secretary of the Sabha, Vijoo Krishnan, said the money should be paid with interest; he also demanded the resumption of operations at the National Cooperative Sugar Mill, Alanganallur

Around ₹21,000 crore due to cane farmers for having sold their produce to sugar mills across the country has not been paid for the last four years, said joint secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha, Vijoo Krishnan.

Addressing a State conference of cane farmers pressing to resume operation of the National Cooperative Sugar Mills at Alanganallur on Thursday, Mr. Krishnan said that the interest for the pending money is huge. “The interest for deposits in banks is around 5% and some cooperative banks are paying as high as 11%. We demand that the Centre take efforts to not only pay the ₹21,000 crore to the farmers, but also the due interest,” he added. No person can buy any product in the country without making the payment due for it. “Then, how come only cane farmers are denied money for the produce they had sold four years back,” he asked.

The BJP promised to double farmers’ incomes, give 50% more as minimum support price of the production cost of crops, subsidy for seeds and loans at lower interest rates. But, after coming to power, it has betrayed the farmer by not implementing its poll promises. “Over one lakh farmers and farmhands have ended their lives in the last seven years of BJP rule,” he said.

When the farmers were in deep distress, the Centre has brought three farm laws to allow corporates to loot the hard work and land of farmers. By removing paddy, wheat, pulses, oilseeds, onions and potato from the list of essential commodities, the Centre has only allowed corporates to hoard them. The Essential Commodities Act ensured that basic foodgrains were not hoarded and were sold to people at an affordable price. But, now corporates can hoard the goods and export them, denying access to foodgrains to the local people, he said. Farmers in Delhi will not give up their year-long protest until the Centre repealed the new farm laws, he added.

Madurai MP, Su. Venkatesan, said that the National Cooperative Sugar Mills has remained closed for two years. “The DMK government should take steps to resume crushing operation in the mill this year. The Chief Minister should give a financial assistance of ₹10 crore to the mill for resuming the operations,” he said. Besides, he said that sugarcane from the cane area of Dharani Sugar mills in Tenkasi district should be diverted to Alanganallur to ensure continuous running of the cooperative sugar mill.

Tamil Nadu Cane Growers’ Association president, N. Palanisamy and secretary, Raveendran, were present.

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