A row has erupted between the ruling allies-Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal- over inordinate delay in announcement of fresh sugarcane price for current crushing season. There is feeling in the RLD that the government had been delaying the announcement for political reason.
Since the RLD has been dithering over electoral alliance with the SP in forthcoming assembly election, the ruling dispensation presumably is opposed to the political benefit of the hike in prices going to the RLD. While middlemen are once again active in sugarcane belt in western UP, the issue has now snowballed into bone of contention between the two parties. The RLD has more political stakes in sugarcane belt than the SP.
Once again the RLD group in Vidhan Parishad led by Munna Singh Chauhan and Dr Hari Singh Dhillon on Monday put the government on the mat on the issue. The BJP also joined the issue to fish in troubled waters.
Chauhan targeting the government said that farmers had been forced to sell sugarcane at Rs 80 to Rs 100 per quintal, which was much below the government support price of Rs 115 to Rs 120 in 2005.
Pressing the government to announce the fresh rate immediately, Dhillon said at least the government should ensure payment of old rate to the farmers. Chauhan said middlemen and Mafiosi were active in western UP to capture the production.
Dhillon said the government machinery had been colluding with the Mafiosi. Chauhan said crushing season had already started but the government was sitting tight over the decision.
However the leader of the House and Family Welfare Minister Ahmad Hasan said that new prices would be announced soon. Hasan said the government was committed to the welfare of the farmers.
He said there was no complaint about the role of middlemen in the purchase and those politicking on the issue were disconnected from the farmers. He said pending dues to farmers had been cleared.
The BJP however, expressing concern over the situation demanded that Rs 175 per quintal should be paid to farmers. Raghoram Mishra (BJP) accused the government of playing into the hands of capitalists.