Harvesting of sugarcane has commenced in Paonta Sahib town, which is the only sugarcane-producing belt in the state, while the growers were sore as the crop was never promoted by the state government.
Some of the farmers run grinder units for producing the quality Gur and Shakkar. The adjoining villages Shivpur, Kanshipur and Phulpur are famous for the products like Gur and Shakkar.
Devraj Chaudhary, a resident of Nichhala Kanshipur village said, “We have already diversified towards mushroom cultivation but we still want to maintain the identity of quality Gur and Shakkar, thus we are still producing cane up to a little extent”.
According to an estimate, around 80,000 quintal sugarcane would be utilised for the production of Gur and Shakkar while reaming sugarcane would be supplied to sugar mills in Uttarakhand and Haryana.
“There is no question of adulteration in the Gur and Shakkar produced in the area. Herbs are being used to purify the sap before further using it”, said Jagat Ram, a local resident.
Meanwhile, if the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee and the working group of chief ministers, of which Haryana CM was the chairman, were taken into consideration, the farmer had to be paid 50% more than the input costs.
The farmers of the area said according to government estimates, the farmers had to spend Rs 236-250 for producing one quintal of sugarcane thus the farmers should be paid 50% more than input cost. By this logic farmer should be paid Rs 354, they added further.
Notably, in the absence of the sugar mill in the area the farmers were fully dependent on the sugar mill located in Doyiwala mill in Uttarakhand.
Moreover, the non-payment of arrears of the last season by the sugar mill located in Doyiwala of adjoining Uttarakhand had made the growers disappointed.
The farmers have urged the state government to open a mill in the state.
Agriculture development officer Sahab Singh admitted the sugarcane production has been declined in the valley and added that around 1500-2000 hectare land was under the cover of sugarcane production.
Sources said the production of the sugarcane was above 10 lakh quintal but today it has declined to 2-3 lakh quintal.