UP Polls: 'Reopen Bhadohi's Sugar Mill & Bring Back Employment,' Demand Locals
The Kashi Sahakari Chini Mill in Uttar Pradesh's Bhadohi district had closed down in 2007.
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Around 50 km to the east of Varanasi lies the Bhadohi district. I had heard a lot about the sugar mill at Bhadohi's Aurai town, so I decided to pay a visit to the Kashi Sahakari Chini Mill, as it was popularly known.
Established in 1971, the mill used to produce the highest amount of sugar in the state back in the day. However, as the government couldn't keep managing the mill's operation, it slowly went into losses, and finally closed down in 2007.
This derailed the livelihood of hundreds of sugar cane farmers from several neighbouring districts, who were dependent on the sugar processing plant.
Upon reaching Aurai town, I found that the sugar mill had now been turned into a cow shelter with several cows housed inside.
I then came across a resident of the village named Lal Chand Yadav at a paan shop nearby, who told me what they had been going through over the last 15 years, since the closure of the mill.
"Multiple political parties came to power and all they gave us were false promises. From the current government, Dinanath Baskar, the MLA of this constituency, visited us and said that he was going to restart the factory. Even the incumbent CM had promised to restart the sugar mill."Lal Chand Yadav, Resident
Yadav told me that there was a time when the sugar mill used to give employment to thousands of people and that the district was once prosperous. But in 2007, he said, everything was disrupted by the closure of the mill. He added that the farmers no longer cultivated sugar cane in the region as they used to.
Suresh Prasad, a farmer who was at the same shop, said that he and others have been asking the government to reopen the sugar mill, but none of the governments since 2007 had paid any attention to their demands.
"Politicians would just come here and make false promises of restarting the sugar mill if they are voted to power. Again, in the next election, the same thing is repeated. This is the rule here, and that’s what has been happening. All the employees of the sugar mill are struggling to make their ends meet."Suresh Prasad, Farmer
Suresh further told me that the abandoned factory has now been converted into a gaushala, and in that too, several cows were dying.
"In this sugar mill, a cow shelter has been opened, and that too seems like a deathbed for cows. I say this to the government: look at the record of how many cows were brought here, how many of them are alive, and where the bones (of the dead cows) are."Suresh Prasad, Farmer
In September 2020, Uttar Pradesh's BJP government had decided to convert the sugar mill into a biofuel plant, but the work doesn't seem to have begun yet. The locals, however, just want the sugar mill to be revived.
"We want the sugar mill to restart so that we can start cultivating sugar cane again, and the government could provide us with the facilities. We want our livelihood to be back on track. Many people are unemployed, they will get employment."Suresh Prasad, Farmer
The election to the Aurai Vidhan constituency is scheduled for 7 March. Raju Kanojia, a resident of the village, said, "Whichever party comes to power, please restart the sugar mill. This will give us employment and restore the livelihood of many."
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