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General Singh leads sugarcane farmers' fight for justice

Last updated on: December 4, 2012 18:13 IST

General Singh leads sugarcane farmers' fight for justice

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Priyanka

Around 6,000 sugarcane farmers from across India held a massive protest in national capital New Delhi against the controversial Rangarajan Committee report. Former Army Chief V K Singh joined issue with the farmers and declared war against the government. Priyanka reports

Kisano ke General V K Singh, Sena ke General V K Singh (Farmers' V K Singh, Army's V K Singh) -- slogans like these reverberated at Parliament Street in New Delhi on Tuesday where the former Army chief spoke out in support of thousands of sugarcane farmers from across India.

The farmers, mainly from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Karnataka, were protesting against the Rangarajan Committee's recommendation on phased decontrol of the highly regulated Rs 80,000-crore sugar industry.

Addressing the rally organised by the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, Singh said: "No politician has worked for farmers. They get votes from you people by promising many things, but they forget that there is a community called farmers after the elections. Next time when you go to the polling booth, think who will fight for you and then vote only for that person."

Singh favoured the proposal floated by RKMS's V M Singh that there was a need to raise a 'Kisan Sena' in the country that would fight for farmers' rights.

Dubbing as "anti-farmer" the Rangarajan Committee report that has recommended, he said the Prime Minister and Parliament should not accept the report.

"Everyone knows our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a world renowned economist. He is a capable and competent person. We hope he will not accept the report and we appeal to him not to accept the report," he said while warning that a "big revolution" would take place if the government accepts the report.

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Image: Sugarcane farmers protesting in New Delhi


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About 6,000 farmers joined the protest on Tuesday. A majority of farmers were from western Uttar Pradesh, a well-known belt for sugarcane yield. Many were seen showing their bare hands that bore scars of farming.

"The life of a sugarcane farmer is very sad. It is worse than that of a manual labourer," lamented Ramphal Singh, 36, a sugarcane farmer from Muzaffarnagar in western UP.

Singh lives with his three brothers and their families. Two brothers till 30 bighas of the land the family jointly owns. On an average, about 30 quintals of sugarcane is harvested every season.

Singh protests that he would be paid a mere Rs 240 per quintal yield if recommendations of the Rangarajan report are agreed upon.

"The cost of production, including the electricity bill, consumption of diesel, labour and cost of fertilizers is very high for us," he says.

Satpal Singh, another farmer from Hapur district in Uttar Pradesh, joins in and explains, "The cost of urea and natural fertilizers has also gone up many fold."

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The farmers were very clear about their demands.

"We should be paid at least Rs 400 per quintal yield," says Satpal, who tills 120 bighas (6 bighas roughly equals one acre of land here).

The farmers are anxious because the sugarcane cutting season has already begun for this season, and for most of them it is yet to be sold, as the prices have not been fixed.

RKMS chief V M Singh has been visiting villages and urging farmers to take their fight to New Delhi.

Singh had contested unsuccessfully against BJP candidate Varun Gandhi in Philbit constituency on a Congress ticket.




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