Instead of getting the promised ₹33 per cane, the farmers are left with a meagre amount of ₹14-15 while the DMK men siphon off the remaining ₹18-19.
A report by India Ahead News Tamil has revealed that DMK office bearers at the district level are interfering in the sugarcane procurement from farmers and siphoning off the profit from them, leaving the farmers disgruntled.
The DMK government began the distribution of Pongal gifts to 2.15 crore ration cardholders, which includes 21 grocery items and full sugarcane. For this, the MK Stalin-led DMK government had said that it would procure sugarcane from the farmers at a price of ₹33 per cane, with the cane not being shorter than six feet. This procurement rate is 10% more than last year’s rate. Approximately ₹88 crores have been set aside by the government just for this sugarcane purchase.
However, instead of the regular intermediaries, DMK office bearers at the district level are procuring the canes from the farmers at a rate of ₹14-15. Instead of getting the promised ₹33 per cane, the farmers are left with a meagre amount while the DMK men siphon off the remaining ₹18-19. This, the farmers say, leave them with money that does not even compensate for the input cost of growing sugarcane.
This problem has risen this year because, instead of the cooperative societies themselves, the sugarcanes are being procured by cooperative society unions. In a video, a sugarcane farmer, Muthuvel, from Vanathirajapuram, said, “Yesterday the government purchased sugarcane from us at ₹14-15 through intermediaries. When this news came out, Minister or Food and Civil Supplies Sakkarapani said that an order has been passed that only the Associate Registrar of the Cooperative societies can procure sugarcane from the farmers and intermediaries cannot interfere. However, we have sold all our sugarcanes, not to intermediaries, but to those the respective authorities and representatives from DMK.”
Another farmer from Mayiladuthurai, Ramalingam, said, “No representatives from cooperative societies or cooperative society unions came to procure sugarcane. At least not in Mayiladuthurai. Here, only DMK cadres come for procurement and the rates are very low. The maximum they procure sugarcane for is ₹17. Almost ₹13-14 is pocketed by these functionaries, as transporting the products will not cost much. We never had direct purchase from Cooperative society representatives.”