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UP: Cane growers go stern, even poetic while posting woes

A terse message “get the dues of cane growers cleared” on the social media account of the sugarcane department sums up the plight of sugarcane growers as the state government makes efforts to clear their dues and increase their income ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

lucknow Updated: Jul 19, 2018 16:00 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Sugarcane,Farmers,Dues
‘The buck stops here’ reads cane commissioner’s message as he goes about tackling the farmers’ issues.(HT )

A terse message “get the dues of cane growers cleared” on the social media account of the sugarcane department sums up the plight of sugarcane growers as the state government makes efforts to clear their dues and increase their income ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Several other messages, focusing on the problems of sugarcane growers, continue to pop up as the department goes interactive with them by deploying a team of trained staff at the call centre to listen to their woes.

“Done with the yoga.., these are three monkeys of Gandhiji…, bhukhe bhajan na hoi Gopala.., ye padi teri kanthi aur mala..,” are some other messages posted on the website when the department uploaded pictures of yoga day celebrations.

Although the department mostly uses social media to give necessary information to farmers ranging from procedure for setting up “khandsari units” to development works etc, it replies to individual messages, too, with one reading “Perform yoga to keep yourself healthy, have patience your dues will be cleared.”

“Yes, we try to reply to the messages being sent to us on social media. We are making all efforts to clear the dues of cane growers. A sum of Rs 24,000 crore has been paid against total dues of about Rs 35,000 crore. We are in the process of clearing all the dues of past three years and a sum of only Rs 11,000 crore remains to be paid for 2017-2018,” said principal secretary, sugarcane development department and cane commissioner, Sanjay Bhoosreddy.

A wooden plate with “The buck stops here” message beneath his name greets visitors at his office as the representatives of people, sugar mills and farmers meet him to point towards the problems being faced by them. “Some sugar mills have not cleared dues for past two to three years. We are in the process of getting dues cleared at the earliest. These dues include a sum of Rs 20 crore for 2014-2015 and Rs 50 crore for 2016-2017. All the dues for 2015-2016 have been cleared,” he said.

Other measures undertaken to help farmers include use of Google maps to mark the areas for the sugar mills to check corruption and that the farmers are not forced to carry sugarcane to mills situated far away from their respective villages.

“We are making sugarcane allocation to mills by using the Google maps and have opened escrow accounts operated jointly by nominees of sugar mills and the sugarcane development department to ensure that the sugar mill owners do not divert funds to other businesses,” said Bhoosreddy.

As a legislator informs him about irregularities in one of the field units of his department, Bhoosreddy orders an inquiry. He, however, turns down the legislator’s request for transferring the officer before completion of inquiry. “We have tried to streamline the functioning of department. We have also ensured that the sugar mills use tamper proof machines to weigh the sugarcane at the mill gates,” he said.

First Published: Jul 19, 2018 15:59 IST