National Press Release – to be released across India [Word version]
22 September 2016 – for immediate release
Alok Kumar, Vice-President of India’s national liberal party – Swarna Bharat Party – said today that sugarcane farmers are being looted by governments through corrupt ministers and crony capitalists in the false pretext of protecting the farmers. Governments have choked the market and are using these laws to strangle the livelihood of 60 million farmers.
Socialist laws control both the movement and prices of sugarcane and associated by-products. The central government sets what is alleged to be a “fair and remunerative price” for sugarcane. State governments set a “state-advised price”. But these prices are far from fair. These prices are far lower than the market price. State governments also fix quotas for end-uses for molasses and impose restrictions on trade across state borders on molasses and bagasse. Farmers are thus forced to sell their produce (indirectly, due to the restrictions on molasses) at throw-away prices.
Mr Alok Kumar gave the example of molasses, a major sugarcane by-product. Molasses form a key input to alcohol production. The market price of molasses is around Rs.7,000 per ton but the UP state government pays mills a no more than Rs.2000 per ton. The remaining value (which is in the hundreds of crores) is shared between corrupt ministers and liquor licence holders.
Moreover, government delays making even these low payments, which leads to further losses for producers. As per the Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966, farmers must be paid 15% interest on any payments delayed beyond 14 days. However, farmers’ payments are always in arrears and they never get the promised interest. The law says that mills that delay payments to farmers cannot charge transportation fees for carrying sugarcane from collection centres to the mills. However, this law is never followed.
Mr Alok Kumar asked: What business does government have to interfere in the open market? Why should farmers and mills not have freedom to sell their produce at the best price they can get? Mr Alok Kumar said that these scandalous anti-people laws must go. India must have a free market in agriculture. SBP wants the free movement of sugarcane and its by-products across India and the abandonment of all end-use quotas.
Liberating the sugarcane industry will allow mills to get a much higher price for sugar and molasses. Farmers will benefit enormously from these higher prices. Further, mills will receive money in a timely manner from the market and will be able to pay the farmers immediately.
SBP wants the whole of India to be free. It wants to release India from the grip of socialists who have destroyed India. SBP is committed to destroying the crony capitalist system operating in India.
Notes for Editors
SBP is India’s only liberal party, committed to defending liberty and promoting prosperity.
Alok Kumar Singh (Ghaziabad), National Vice President and President UP State Unit, +91 9999755334
Sanjay Sonawani (Pune), National President, +91 9860991205