Farmers Attack Sugar Factories over Delayed Payments

The protests of sugarcane farmers across western Maharashtra over delayed payment for their crop have turned violent with offices of several sugar factories in the region being attacked. 

As per the police, around 8 sugar factories in Kohlapur, Sangli, and Satara in western Maharashtra have been attacked by protesting farmers. Offenses were registered against unidentified people under IPC sections for mischief and house trespass.  

Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana (SSS), a farmer’s organization is backing the farmers. It demands the dues to be cleared at the earliest. “We will intensify our protests if dues of farmers are not cleared immediately,” SSS leader and Member of Parliament Raju Shetti told reporters. 

Yogesh Pande, the spokesperson of SSS states, “The information was given by the state sugar commissioner clearly states that sugar factories have not paid dues worth Rs. 4,500 cr to farmers.” 

The data by the Sugar Commissioner indicates that 188 factories in the state owe more than Rs. 3500 cr to cane farmers.  The Sugar Control Act makes it mandatory for sugar factories to pay farmers in a single installment, but most factories in Maharashtra have only made part payment while a few have paid nothing at all. The sugar factories are citing the surplus of sugar stocks, falling prices, and heavy losses as a reason for the same. 

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