With more than three lakh sugarcane farmers of Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar reeling under multifold problems, they have demanded subsidy on diesel and loan for buying seeds.
In the last two years, sugarcane farmers of the district, which is going to Assembly polls in the sixth phase, have said they incurred heavy losses due to extreme rain that damaged a large portion of the crops in the entire district.
Failing to repay the loan taken under KCC (Kisan Credit Card) due to low harvest, the farmers said that now they wouldn’t get any loans under the scheme. Under this scheme, a farmer can get Kisan Credit Card (KCC) and avail loans with the lowest interest rate.
Based on the recommendations of a special committee — formed for inputs on loans and agricultural welfare — Kisan Credit Card (KCC) was launched in 1998 by the Central Government for farmers to have access to credit at a reasonable rate. The loan provides term loans to the farmers for covering the cost of farming, harvest, and farm maintenance.
The farmers that ANI spoke with said they want a subsidised rate for diesel and a loan for seeds.
“Last year I incurred loss and this year also, the situation remains the same. We do not want subsidies on seeds. The present rate is ₹350 per quintal for sugarcane. If we can get loans to buy the seeds, it will be of much help for us. The price of fertilizer is also increasing, do not know where it will stop,” said Ram Lal from Dumri village in Kushinagar.
The ‘early variety’ rate in the state, which is also considered as the best variety is ₹350 per quintal, whereas ‘reject variety’ (low grade) is ₹340 per quintal.
This eastern belt of the state, which is also known as the “sugar bowl of India”, failed to get any sugar mills. Instead, sugar mills were built in Pipraich in Gorakhpur district and Munderwa in Basti district.
Along with sugarcane, owing to its immediate profit, many farmers simultaneously began banana plantations a few years ago. However, due to rain and stagnant water on the field, banana plants died. This compelled farmers to return to sugarcane.
A cane farmer named Ajay Kumar Mal, who owns 10 acres of land in Babuiya Harpur said, “Situation is not good for the sugarcane farmers here at Kushinagar. For the last two years due to heavy rain and stagnant water on the field, both sugarcane and banana farmers went through a tough time.”
At present, the sugarcane economy in the state of Uttar Pradesh is estimated at ₹40,000 crore.
The crisis of the cane farmers has multiple problems attached to it such as delayed payments by the mills, rise in costs of fertilizers as well as the pesticides for the last few years which directly impacts the farmers of all scales among which mostly are small scale farmers.
In the sixth phase of the seven-phased Assembly elections, 10 districts including Gorakhpur, Ambedkarnagar, Ballia, Balrampur, Basti, Deoria, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Sant Kabir Nagar and Siddharthnagar are going to polls on March 3.
In the 2017 Assembly polls, the Kushinagar constituency was won by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Rajnikant Mani Tripathi of BJP won the seat by defeating Rajesh Pratap Rav alias ‘Banti bhaiya’ from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) with a margin of 48,103 votes.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP candidate Vijay Kumar Dubey won from Kushi Nagar Lok Sabha (MP) seat with a margin of 3,37,560 votes by defeating NP Kushwaha alias ‘Nathuni Prasad Kushwaha’ from Samajwadi Party (SP).
PN Pathak from BJP is pitted against Rajesh Pratap Rao of SP this time.
There are 14 blocks and 1,620 villages in Kushinagar that will vote in the sixth phase.