With more than three lakh sugarcane farmers in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh reeling from multiple problems, they applied for diesel subsidy and seed loan.
Over the past two years, sugar cane farmers in the district, which is contesting Assembly elections in the sixth phase, said they suffered heavy losses as extreme rains damaged much of the crops throughout the district.
Failing to repay the loan taken out under KCC (Kisan Credit Card) due to poor harvest, the farmers said they would no longer get any loans under the scheme. Under this scheme, a farmer can obtain a Kisan Credit Card (KCC) and avail loans at the lowest interest rate.
Based on the recommendations of a special committee – formed for Inputs on Loans and Farm Welfare – the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) was launched in 1998 by the central government to provide farmers with access to credit at a reasonable rate. The loan provides term loans to farmers to cover the cost of farming, harvesting and maintaining the farm.
Farmers ANI spoke to said they wanted a subsidized rate for diesel and a seed loan.
“Last year I suffered losses and this year also the situation remains the same. We do not want subsidies on seeds. The current rate is ₹350 quintal for sugar cane. If we can get loans to buy the seeds, that will help us a lot. The price of fertilizer is also increasing, I don’t know where it will stop,” said Ram Lal from Dumri village in Kushinagar.
The “early variety” rate in the state, which is also considered the best variety, is ₹350 quintal, while the “rejected variety” (low grade) is ₹340 quintals.
This eastern belt of the state, also known as “India’s sugar bowl”, has failed to get sugar mills. Instead, sugar factories were built at Pipraich in Gorakhpur district and Munderwa in Basti district.
Along with sugarcane, due to its immediate profit, many farmers started banana plantations simultaneously a few years ago. However, due to rain and standing water in the field, the banana trees died. This forced farmers to return to sugarcane.
A cane farmer named Ajay Kumar Mal, who owns 10 acres of land in Babuiya Harpur said, “The situation is not good for the cane farmers here in Kushinagar. Over the past two years, due to heavy rains and standing water in the field, sugar cane and banana growers have gone through a difficult time.”
At present, the sugarcane economy in the state of Uttar Pradesh is estimated at ₹40,000 crores.
The crisis of sugar cane producers is accompanied by multiple problems such as late payments by mills, the increase in the cost of fertilizers as well as pesticides in recent years which directly impacts farmers of all scales including most are small farmers. .
In the sixth round of seven-phase Assembly elections, 10 districts including Gorakhpur, Ambedkarnagar, Ballia, Balrampur, Basti, Deoria, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Sant Kabir Nagar and Siddharthnagar will go to the polls on March 3.
In the 2017 Assembly polls, the Kushinagar constituency was won by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Rajnikant Mani Tripathi of the BJP won the seat beating Rajesh Pratap Rav aka ‘Banti bhaiya’ of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) by a margin of 48,103 votes.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP candidate Vijay Kumar Dubey won the seat of Kushi Nagar Lok Sabha (MP) by a margin of 337,560 votes by defeating the NP Kushwaha aka ‘Nathuni Prasad Kushwaha’ of the Samajwadi Party (SP ).
BJP’s PN Pathak takes on SP’s Rajesh Pratap Rao this time.
There are 14 blocks and 1,620 villages in Kushinagar that will vote in the sixth phase.