Farmers stage protest in Lucknow, demand higher MSP



 Farmers staged a massive protest in the state capital on Wednesday to protest against the Uttar Pradesh government's decision not to raise the minimum support price (MSP) or state advised price (SAP) of sugarcane.

The farmers also protested against non-payment of cane dues by burning sugarcane.

Uttar Pradesh, which is India's top sugar producer, has kept the state-advised price (SAP) of the common variety of sugarcane unchanged at Rs 315 per quintal for the current 2019-20 crushing season.

Sugarcane farming is done by nearly four million farmers in UP and the composite annual sugar economy is estimated at more than Rs 40,000 crore, spanning sugar, power generation, and ethanol.

The SAP for early and unsuitable cane varieties have also been held at Rs 325 and Rs 310 per quintal, respectively.

This is the second successive year that the Yogi Adityanath government has kept cane prices unchanged. It had hiked the price by Rs 10 per quintal for the common variety in its maiden year in office, during the 2017-18 crushing season.

Farmers had demanded an increase in the cane price to more than Rs 400 per quintal, citing a hike in farm input costs, such as diesel, labour wages, and fertilisers.

Meanwhile, the protest march was stopped on the way to state Assembly after the administration held talks with the farmer leaders and agreed to look into their demands.

"Their protest was regarding an increase in the prices and two other demands for which they were marching towards the Vidhan Sabha. We held talks with them following which they relented and agreed to stop the march mid-way," said Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Vaibhav Mishra.

The farmers raised slogans like 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan' and 'Bhartiya Kisan Union Zindabad' during the march.

The Bhartiya Kisan Union has also announced to carry out protests in different parts of the state to press for their demands.IANS