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BKU stir: Yogi lists waiver, loan to sugar mills to claim pro-farmer agenda

UP CM Adityanath snipes at Opposition, says distressed farmers were forced to commit suicide during earlier regimes

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

CM Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Photo: PTI

In the backdrop of the farmers' protest march towards Delhi, Chief Minister on Tuesday listed various initiatives, including the crop and proposed soft loan of Rs 40 billion to sugar mills for settling their arrears, to underline his government's pro-farmer agenda.

Talking to the media at a hurriedly convened news conference even as negotiations continued with agitating farmers in the capital, Adityanath said that during earlier regimes, the distressed farmers were forced to commit suicide owing to mounting losses even as they also braved 'lathi-charge' for getting fertiliser and seed.

"When we came to power last year, the sugarcane farmers' arrears on mills were to the tune of Rs 260 billion, pertaining to crushing years starting from 2011-12 to 2016-17," he said, adding that the state government ensured that the previous years' arrears were completely liquidated.

Further, Adityanath said that the sugar mills had paid nearly Rs 260 billion pertaining to the recently concluded 2017-18 crushing season, while the remaining component of about Rs 90 billion would be settled by November 2018. He also blamed the low sugar prices globally for the present crisis.

"We have made a provision of Rs 40 billion in the Budget to offer soft loan to mills for settling outstanding. The funds would be directly credited to the farmers' bank accounts," he added.

ALSO READ: 25 govt-run UP sugar mills settle Rs 9 bn of cane farmers' outstanding dues

Besides, he also mentioned the crop announced last year to benefit more than 8 million small and marginal farmers in the state.

"We are ready for another paddy procurement season to purchase 5 million tonnes (mt) of paddy against last year's aggregate of 4.3 mt. For the first time, the state government has announced the minimum support price (MSP) for potato, pulses and oilseeds," he said.

Meanwhile, farmers from the state are protesting under the banner of the (BKU) over pending farm issues, including farm loan waiver, fuel price cut, Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on 10-year-old tractors, complete procurement of crops, power tariff relief, crop insurance, etc.

ALSO READ: BKU stir: Govt accepts 7 of 9 farmers' demands, silent on waivers, MSP

Adityanath claimed that the Centre and the state had already accepted most of the farmers' demands and that the government delegation was holding discussions with the farmers' representatives.

On the use of force by the police to stop farmers from entering the capital, the chief minister underlined that the protest by the farmers was completely peaceful all along the UP-Delhi border, although he blamed vested interests for trying to disrupt the peace and for sabotaging the peaceful resolution of the issue.

ALSO READ: BKU protest march: Police use water cannons, tear gas to disperse farmers

"The Centre and the state stand firmly with farmers and are always working for ensuring their prosperity. However, no one could be given the liberty to disrupt the law and order environment," he asserted even as he flayed the Opposition's leaders for shedding "crocodile tears" and trying to play on the matter.

First Published: Tue, October 02 2018. 21:44 IST