Partial relief for agitating sugarcane farmers in south Maharashtra

Sugar factories in Sangli and Kolhapur offer Rs 200 more than the earlier price

 
By Aparna Pallavi
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Sugarcane farmers in south Maharashtra received some respite on Sunday after sugar factories in Sangli and Kolhapur announced a first installment price of Rs 2,500 per tonne of sugarcane, which is Rs 200 more than the price offered earlier.

In drought areas like Solapur and Pandharpur, where recovery (of juice content in the cane) is low, the price has been raised to Rs 2,300 from the earlier Rs 2,100. The decision came after sugarcane transporters’ groups also threw in their lot with farmers and announced that they will not cart sugarcane till the agitation is over. The decision came after the state rural development minister Jayant Patil held a meeting of factory managements, controlled by the Congress party.

Farmer organisations, while giving an in-principle go ahead to procurement and crushing process, however, asserted that the price was still unfair and the agitation will not stop here. Raju Shetty, leader of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and Member of Parliament from Hatkanangale, who was released on bail recently, said that if the announcement stops the bloodshed of farmers then the organisation will not oppose the procurement or transport of cane. However, he urged farmers to have patience and not sell out because a better price can be availed with a little patience.

Shetkari Sanghatana leaders Sharad Joshi and Raghunath Patil said that the final demand of the farmers will be announced on November 21, and said the price of Rs 2,500 is insufficient. The farmers’ agitation has been under suspension for three days following the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray. The end of the suspension period will be marked by a large sugarcane rally at Sangli on November 21, when the farmer organisations will announce their next move.

The agitation started on November 7 when farmers staged a dharna at the Karmayogi Shankarrao Patil Cooperative Sugar Factory at Indapur in Pune district, protesting its procurement of sugarcane at abysmally low prices.

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