Agriculture Industry

Farmers’ Indefinite Dharna In Punjab Over Non-Payment Of Sugarcane Dues

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03 November 2023, Punjab: The Bharti Kisan Union (Doaba) staged a dharna to protest the non-clearance of cane farmers’ dues of about ₹ 42 crore by a sugar mill in Phagwara in Punjab.

The “indefinite” protest was withdrawn hours later after a meeting with the Punjab agriculture minister who assured a delegation of farmers clearing the dues by March 2024.

The protesting farmers said the amount has been pending for the last three years.

In September, the farmers had locked the gates of the sugar mill and had held a four-day dharna to put pressure on authorities to clear the dues after its owners had reneged on their promise of clearing the dues in instalments.

During the meeting in Chandigarh with a delegation of the BKU (Doaba), minister Gurmeet Singh Khudian said all dues of sugarcane farmers pending with the mill in Phagwara will be cleared by March 31, 2024.

Besides the minister, special chief secretary (agriculture) KAP Sinha, BKU (Doaba) president Manjit Singh Rai and BKU (Lakhowal) president Harinder Singh were also present.

Mr Khudian directed Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala Karnail Singh to ensure payment of ₹ 9.72 crore to farmers by the present mill owner and the first instalment of around ₹ 2 crore should be paid before the start of the cane crushing season.

He also asked the DC to expedite the process of attaching properties related to the defaulting owners of the mill to make payments to the cane farmers by March 2024.

He asked the officials concerned to immediately open the mill, which has been sealed for a few days following protests, so that required repairs would be ensured to make it operational before the beginning of this year’s crushing season.

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