With thousands of farmers setting afire their sugarcane crop in western UP for low prices, chief minister Mayawati today shot off a letter to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh blaming centre for ignoring interest of farmers.
Mayawati pointed out that the centre had considerably hiked the prices of paddy over the years but there had been no matching increase in the Statuary Minimum Price (SMP) of sugar cane. Mayawati said just because of the faulty price policy there had been sharp decline in sugar cane farming and production of sugar in UP.
The centre without taking UP government into confidence has introduced Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) system that has hurt the interest of 40 lakh farmers, Mayawati said, adding the Supreme Court had upheld the right of the state in fixing Sate Advisory Price (SAP). The Chief Minister said that state government should have been consulted before introducing FRP for the current crushing season.
She said SAP based pricing should continue. The state Cabinet had announced fresh SAP for sugar cane on October 23 last.
While the government has fixed SAP for high quality cane at Rs 170 per quintal, for common and un-suitable categories the support prices would be Rs 165 and Rs 162.50 per quintal respectively. During the last crushing season the prices were Rs 145 for high quality, Rs 140 and Rs 137.50 for common and un-suitable categories respectively. The central government had fixed SMP at Rs 107.76 per quintal for current season with 9.5 percent recovery from sugar cane.
The Chief Minister justifying the farmers’ stir said it was just because of FRP fixed by the centre. The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) has announced to hold a “Mahapanchayat” of farmers on November 5 to oppose the decision. Mayawati said by amending Essential Commodities Act and Sugarcane Control Order—1966, to introduce FRP, the centre had eliminated the rights of the states for SAP. Under the new system the state would have to bear the gap between FRP and SAP, which would not be possible under prevailing financial situation, Mayawati said and added the state government had been fixing SAP annually since 1973 to ensure good prices to farmers.