Sugarcane price, diesel rates, stray cattle menace bigger issues

Muzaffarnagar, Mar 08 (PTI):
Emergence of Naresh and Rakesh Tikait may have brought Western Uttar Pradesh to the centre of farmers’ protest at Delhi borders, but the farming community of the region known as the ‘sugar bowl of India’ have a long list of other and even bigger problems — Stagnant sugarcane price, ever-rising diesel rates and the menace of stray animals, to name a few.
At the same time, ever-changing caste and societal equations are making the landscape much more difficult to predict in this politically-important region, which many political pundits believe would play a key role in the assembly elections next year and in the Lok Sabha polls of 2024. Raj Kumar, a Rawa Rajput from Satheri village in Muzaffarnagar district, says sugarcane prices have not been raised for the past several seasons, whereas companies have reduced the size of urea and DAP (Diammonium phosphate, a popular phosphatic fertiliser) bags, making the manure costlier and the agriculture “unsustainable”. “In this region, our elders earlier used to say, ‘Uttam kheti, beech vyapaar, neech naukri’ (Agriculture is best to earn a livelihood, followed by business and then doing a job), but the sequence has turned upside down now,” he said.
Muzaffarnagar, a western Uttar Pradesh district, is not very far from Delhi which has seen its three border points turn into tent cities as farmers protesting against the three new central agricultural laws, which open up the sector for private players, have been camping there for over 100 days now.

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