Farmers protest govt push for sugar sector deregulation

Hundreds of farmers assemble at Jantar Mantar, say Rangarajan committee report shouldn't be implemented in northern states

Ashish Rajput and Shradha Narayanan | December 5, 2012


Sugarcane farmers at a protest rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Dec 5: Rangarajan panel report speaks only for the mill owners, they say.
Arun Kumar

The Rangarajan commission report on ‘sugar sector regulation’ has garnered a lot of attention, mostly in ways that its authors would rather have not. As the sun beat down, hundreds of farmers raised the heat a few notches further at Jantar Mantar on December 4: coming from several states, they carried sugarcane as a mark of protest and placards that showed their disapproval of the report.

Led by VM Singh, national convenor of Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan and former army chief VK Singh, the protest saw participation of 700 to 800 farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab and Uttarakhand, along with popular farmer leaders from the states.

The Rangarajan commission report, put together by a five-member committee, has called for deregulation of the country’s sugar sector. The report has recommended that the state advice price (SAP) issued by the states be done away with and the FRP (fair and remunerative price) set by the Centre, which is much lower than SAP, be made the standard price. The committee has also sought removal of reservation of areas, among other points.

“We demand that the Rangarajan committee report not be implemented in UP, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Haryana,” said V M Singh, calling it a “historic” day that brought together farmers who travelled across hundreds of kilometres to fight for their rights. “If the report is implemented, it will give mill owners a right to rob the farmers,” he said.

Expressing his objection to the report, VK Singh remarked, “How can a commission sitting in an air-conditioned room be given the right to decide the fate of farmers who toil so hard?” Emphasising that they have “told the prime minister” to ignore the report, he said, “We hope he takes into consideration what we have said. If he does not, the farmers should, and will, stand up for their rights.”

Leader of opposition in Haryana assembly Om Prakash Chautala, who was also present, said, “There is a difference in the conditions in south and north India — (there is a) better harvest and recovery of sugarcane in south India. The difference in situation should be considered.”

Criticising the UPA government’s move on allowing foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, Sultan Ahmed of the Trinamool Congress told the farmers, “If you asked who really runs the government, the answer would be foreign multinationals.”

“This report is speaking only for the mills (owners),” said Ajith Kumar Singh, a farmer from Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh. Explaining their plight, he said, “The prices of seeds, fertilisers and other inputs have gone up. But the rates we get for our crop has been the same. Now if this report is implemented, the prices we will get will reduce further. How can things go on like this for us?”

Farmers from other states, too, voiced similar complaints against the Rangarajan committee report. “The recovery that farmers get in Maharashtra and south India is higher than what we get in Uttar Pradesh. In Maharasthra, farmers get about 10-12 percent in government-run mills but in UP, we get about 8-9 percent in private mills. Obviously we are at a loss here,” said Harvin Singh, a farmer from Hapur, Uttar Pradesh.

Addressing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the protest rally, VK Singh warned that if the report was considered and implemented in any of states that did not want it, the government would have to face the consequences. He said every farmer present at the rally would then bring 100 other farmers and protest at the Boat Club in the national capital.

“We are here to show our strength and say that we do not want the report,” he asserted, as cries of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ went up from the farmers assembled.

Comments

 

Other News

India to end open defecation and save people the blushes

An estimated half of India’s 1.2 billion people do not have access to toilets, forcing them to defecate in the open. Ram Kripal Yadav, minister of state for drinking water and sanitation talks about the challenges as well as the efforts to turn India into an open defecation-free country.

Tamil Nadu Polls: All eyes on Amma

Tamil Nadu is witnessing a fierce battle between the AIADMK and the DMK as the state goes to polls on May 16. The BJP, however, it seems, has miles to go for even registering its presence in the southern state. Governance Now spoke to a cross-section of people in Chennai; and it was clear th

Delhi needs policies to complement odd-even

In 1992, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Mexico City as the world’s most polluted city. After that, the Mexican government enforced stringent pollution control measures. Two decades on, it is still struggling to invent and reinvent policies to decrease vehicular and industrial pollut

Now on stands: Your drug may be spurious

Indu Gilra, a retired teacher in her seventies living in Indirapuram, Ghaziabad in the national capital region (NCR), would often pop a tablet of Combiflam at the slightest hint of body ache. Since it’s an over-the-counter medicine, she could purchase it anywhere and it had always worked. One day, ho

RTI Act: Why citizens must send a strong message to MPs

There is a very disturbing news report about the entire political spectrum agreeing that RTI is misused and some constrictions and impediments should be developed to muzzle it. This is indeed a sad state of affairs. Samajawadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal has leveled a charge that the Indian par

Demolish Adarsh society building, orders Bombay high court

 The Bombay high court on Friday directed the Centre and the ministry of environment and forests to demolish the scam-ridden Adarsh Housing Society in south Mumbai. The court also ordered an inquiry against politicians, ministers and officers who were involved in the scam. The court directed

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter