Agitation over sugarcane FRP takes hostile turn

first_imgThe agitation over the fair and remunerative price (FRP) for sugarcane has taken a hostile turn after activists of the Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) burnt a tractor carrying sugarcane from Kolhapur to Karnataka, late on Wednesday.The SSS has already warned that it would not allow mills to start crushing unless the FRP amount was given to farmers at one go. The amount is to be decided after the SSS’s annual sugar conclave to be held in Kolhapur’s Jaysingpur on Saturday.In the face of this threat, mill workers tried to send the cane for crushing to a unit of Athani Sugars in Karnataka in the intervening night between Wednesday and Thursday.However, the tractors were intercepted by SSS activists near Danoli in Shirol taluka, near the Maharashtra-Karnataka border, and torched one tractor. The activists deflated tires of six other tractors and caused damage to the vehicles.“The main agenda of the sugar conclave will be fixing the FRP. The second will be fixing the price of cane in the rain-ravaged areas. We have already warned factory owners not to start crushing operations till then or send their sugarcane to get it crushed in mills in Karnataka,” Swabhimani Paksha leader Anil Pawar said.The outfit’s aggressive action comes despite Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari giving the nod earlier this week to commence cane crushing operations from Friday following his meeting with representatives of the sugar cooperative sector.The cane crushing season has already suffered one of its longest delays — by more than a month — in recent memory, owing to consecutive natural calamities, in the form of the flood and then the unseasonal downpour ruining the sugarcane crop in Sangli and Kolhapur districts. As a result, the crushing season this time will be shortened to 80-90 days as against the normal 120 days.The Sangli-Kolhapur floods ruined thousands of acres under sugarcane cultivation, with the State’s sugarcane production expected to plummet by 40%-45% this time.last_img

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