Leaders of Bihar State Sugarcane Producers Kisan Mahasabha affiliated to AIKM said in a press conference on 23 January that dharna protests would be organized in front of the gates of all sugar mills in Bihar on 28 January. The protests will demand fixing of sugarcane price at Rs 400 per quintal in the current session, payment of all arrears, starting of crushing season at Riga Sugar Mill without delay, stopping short-weighing of cane, and other issues pertaining to sugarcane farmers. The press conference was addressed by BSSPKM State convener Sikta MLA Virendra Prasad Gupta and AIKM leaders KD Yadav and Umesh Singh.
The leaders said that sugar cane price for the 2020-21 has not yet been fixed. The cost of diesel, fertilizers, pesticides and essential farm equipment is consistently increasing, as has the cost of cane products like sugar and ethanol. But it is extremely reprehensible that sugarcane price for farmers is yet to be fixed. Our demand is that sugarcane price for the current session should be fixed at Rs 400 per quintal.
They further said that the month of January is about to end but the cane crushing session at the Riga Sugar Mill has not even started. The mill remains shut. As a result 40,000 cane farmers and 700 mill workers are facing a grave livelihood crisis. About 15 lakh quintals of ready sugarcane are standing in the fields, valued at Rs 50 crores. All these crops are getting wasted. Payment of Rs 60 to 70 crores to farmers is still pending. Bank claims on cane prices given through KCC are also around Rs 60 crores. Rs 2.5 crores are pending in dues to mill workers from the management. The situation has become very serious but the Riga Mill has not been started despite protests.
The Honrable High Court has given the verdict on 02-12-19 that compensation should be paid to farmers in Western Champaran and other areas in Northern Bihar due to crop loss because of floods in 2017. But the order has not been complied with and compensation has not been paid.
The sugarcane farmers have demanded :