Mumbai: Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) chief and MP Raju Shetti on Monday addressed a rally in Pune demanding full payment of the fair and remunerative price (FRP) arrears for sugarcane farmers across Maharashtra. Shetti, along with Yogendra Yadav of the Swaraj India party, led a ‘Halla Bol’ rally of thousands of farmers against sugar mill owners and the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government.
The protest march, which began in the afternoon, reached the Sugar Commissionerate. However, Shetti staged a sit-in late before the building late evening after he claimed the SSS’ talks with the Sugar Commissioner failed. He threatened to go on an indefinite fast from January 30 if the State government and the Sugar Commissioner failed to give concrete assurances on the matter.
“There has been no communication from the Chief Minister or the State administration on this issue since the past three months. There was one meeting that the Chief Minister held with the mill owners in which it was decided that only 80% of the FRP amount would be paid to farmers and that factory owners would not be investigated.
What hope can there be of justice for farmers if the CM takes decisions on the sly?” said Shetti. The MP from Hatkanangale in Kolhapur said FRP arrears amounted to a staggering `5,320 crore and that as many as 124 sugar mills had not paid the full amount to sugarcane farmers.