Sugar Factory Shut, Farmers Burn Sugarcane In Field

Sugarcane plants set on fire in NakashiparaSugarcane plants set on fire in Nakashipara

Nakashipara, Jan.1: A large section of sugarcane farmers in Nadia’s Nakashipara and Kaliganj block have been burning their produce in the field as they are not getting good price from the jaggery manufacturers. Many farmers this year tried to sell sugarcane to the jaggery makers as the only sugar mill in the district, where they used to supply sugarcane, has suspended work due to technical problem coupled with staff unrest.

This has put the farmers in deep trouble. Finding no way, the farmers have started burning sugarcane so that they could cultivate other cash crops like sesame and lentils to earn their living.

In last week, many farmers in Nakashipara and Kaliganj have burnt sugarcane in over few hundred acres of land after the local jaggery makers offered them Rupees 180 for per quintal.

Keyamutullah Mandal, a farmer in Nakashipara, who burnt his entire production in over four bigha land, said: “I compelled to go to the jaggery factories as the Plassey sugar mill is closed. But, jaggery owners are reluctant to take our sugarcane. They offered us only Rs.180-Rs.200 per quintal. I expected Rupees 400 per quintal, but none offered it. So I decided to destroy the plants otherwise I will not get time to cultivate other cash crops”.

“It took entire one year to grow sugarcane. As a result farmers who only cultivate sugarcane do not get scope to cultivate other crop. But I will not cultivate sugarcane anymore as it has become tough to survive on its cultivation”, said Riyajuddin Mandal, a farmer.

Badruddin Seikh, a jaggery owner in Doyiam village said: “The price of sugarcane dropped suddenly due to sudden influx in supply. Many farmers brought sugarcane here after the Plassey sugar mill was closed”.

An official of Ramnagar Cane & Sugar Company Limited of Plassey said: “There are technical problems in the factory. Nevertheless, we were trying to continue production in small quantities, but workers have recently suspended service demanding hike in wage and overtime”.

Assistant Director of Agriculture Marketing (Sugarcane) Dhyaneswar Das said: “Farmers have reasons to be worried. Nevertheless, I advised them to have patience. We are trying to set up some jaggeries units in the localities and to provide alternative ways to preserve their production. The sugarcane has multiple usages. We will help farmers to learn it”.