THE IMPASSE between sugarcane growers and millers in Solapur district ended on Tuesday evening, after millers agreed to pay Rs 400 more than the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP), as the first installment of the payment. The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by state Cooperation Minister Subhash Deshmukh.
The crushing season, this year, had started on a rough note, with growers from various districts taking to the streets demanding better payment.
Farmers had asked for Rs 2,700 as the first installment, without any cuts. Normally, mills in Solapur have sugar recovery between 9.5-10 per cent. So, their FRP, after deduction of handling and transport costs (HnT), comes around Rs 1,900-2,100.
On Tuesday, Ravikant Tupkar, leader of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghathana, said it has been decided that the first installment would be Rs 400 over the FRP. Of these, Rs 300 would be paid to the farmer immediately, while Rs 100 would be paid later. After closure of the mills, the grower would be get a share of the revenue generated, as per the 70-30 formula of the C Rangarajan Committee. Mills in Sangli and Kolhapur have agreed to pay Rs 200 over the FRP in two equal installments.
The agitation in Solapur, which is also the home district of Deshmukh whose Lokmangal group runs two private sugar mills in the area. Agitating farmers had forced the suspension of both the mills and disrupted the transportation of cane.
The protest also saw various farmers’ organisation — the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghathana of MP Raju Shetti, the Baliraja Shetkari Sanghatana and the Rayat Shetkari Sanghatana of Minister of State Sadashiv Khot — coming together.
Two farmers were injured when police opened fire during a protest in Ahmednagar last week.
An incident of arson, including burning of tyres and buses, were also reported from the district during protests.