Ambala Farmers on Jal Satyagraha Due to Pending Sugarcane Dues
Farmers are agitated after the Ambala-based sugar mill started handing out post-dated cheques with 2020 as the year.
Thousands of farmers in Haryana’s Ambala district have resorted to Jal Satyagraha due to the non-payment of dues for their sugarcane crop.
Since 22 August 2019, farmers have been taking turns, with few of them standing in the river Begna, as a mark of protest against the Naraingarh Sugar Mills Ltd.
Farmers claim that they haven’t received dues since January 2019, following which they are facing a huge financial crisis. Payment of arrears is due for as many as 5,000 farmers who want that the pending amount should be credited in the form of cash as soon as possible.
According to local farmer leaders’ estimate, Ambala-based Naraingarh Sugar Mills Ltd has not cleared dues worth Rs 101 crore.
Few farmers have been given post dated cheques, with the year mentioned as that of 2020, further heightening their apprehensions.
Rajiv Kumar, associated with the Haryana wing of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, received a receipt from the sugar mill in December 2018. This receipt is the official document related to the sale of sugarcane crop, estimating the total worth of 108 quintal of sugarcane to be Rs 35,300.
Kumar, who sold sugarcane to the Naraingarh Mills at a total cost of Rs 2.85 Lakh received a cheque dated 31 January 2020, signed by the concerned authority.
Even though the cheque clearly mentions that its validity stands for a total period of three months, it’s unclear why the sugar mill is handing out these cheques to farmers.
“Even the cheques that have been issued by the Naraingarh Sugar Mills cover only Rs 2.5 crore out of the total dues, amounting to Rs 101 crore. Not a single farmer has received any money since 13 January 2019.”Rajiv Kumar, Bhartiya Kisan Union, Haryana
Though the state chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, has assured that a panel led by the state government representatives will look into the matter, farmers claim such promises have been doing the rounds since July 2019 and that they expect immediate results.
In a statement issued by the AIKSC (All India Kisan Sangharsh Samiti), concerns have been raised about the pending dues of farmers in Ambala, along with a warning that 212 farmer groups supporting the AIKSC may join these protests soon.
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