Updated: March 25, 2021 3:45:00 pm
Members of the farmer’s outfit Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana began protesting outside the government rest house in Karad Thursday after former MP and Sanghatana founder Raju Shetti was prevented by the police from going to the Sahyadri Cooperative Sugar mill in the area. Shetti had announced that he would start an indefinite protest outside this mill – which is managed by the state cooperative minister Balasaheb Patil – from today for clearance of cane dues.
After five months of crushing, sugar mills in Maharashtra have procured 828.27 lakh tonnes of cane from farmers for which they have to pay Rs 18,221.50 crores as the government-declared Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP). However, mills till date have paid Rs 15,850.62 crore, running up arrears of Rs 2,385.06 crores. Of the 187 mills who have started their operations this season, 97 have entered into agreements with their farmers for part payment of the FRP.
Shetti, whose politics have traditionally revolved around cane and payments to farmer, had protested against the decision of the mills to pay FRP in parts. Before the start of the current crushing season, Shetti had asked for full payment of FRP and subsequent Rs 200 once the season gets over. However, barring the mills in Kolhapur and some in Pune, a majority of the mills have taken to part payment of FRP. The farmer’s leader had earlier announced that he would start an indefinite protest outside the Sahyadri mill against this.
On Thursday, members of the organisation were prevented from going to the mill site by the Satara police. Around 12 noon, when Shetti had started to travel towards the mill, he was stopped by the police on the Pune-Bengaluru Highway. The former MP was later shifted to the government rest house in Karad where Patil met him to discuss the demands of the organisation.
At present, members of the farmer’s outfit are protesting outside the rest house against the detention their leader.
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