one killed in firing 20 buses attacked roadblocks as sugarcane farmers in maharashtra go on the rampage
Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, Nov 13: One farmer was killed in police firing in Sangli district on Monday as sugarcane farmers led by an outfit spearheaded by independent MP Raju Shetty went on the rampage in Ahmednagar, Sangli, Pandharpur, Baramati and other places.
More than 20 state transport buses were attacked, with three of them set on fire.
Supporters of Raju Shetty's Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana came out on the streets demanding Shetty's release and Rs 3,000 per tonne sugarcane price.
Farmers stopped traffic on Pune-Solapur highway at Loni Deokar. They set fire to a state transport bus in Pandharpur in the presence of nearly 1,000 farmers.
Traffic was also blocked on Kolhapur-Shirol highway, and attacked the offices of Jawahar sugar mill in Gadhinglaj.
In Kolhapur, police lathi charged sugarcane farmers and rounded up nearly 200 of them. The farmers set fire to three buses.
In Sangli , near Ankli Fata, farmers damaged a milk tanker and blocked traffic by putting burning tyres on the highway.
The demonstrators deflates tyres of trucks on Pune-Bijapur national highway near Kamti, while 11 state transport buses were smashed near Pune-Kini Toll.
Supporters of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana fought pitched battles with police at Faltan near Baramati, Sharad Pawar's hometown.
Another state transport bus was set on fire near Sangli-Kohlapur byepass on the Pune-Bangalore highway, while the offices of three sugar mills were attacked in Nandegaon near Sangli.
Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, while addressing a function in Indapur in Pune district, said, the agitation was not against the government, but a dispute between the farmers and co-operative sugar mills.
"Sugarcane producers have themselves elected the directors of these co-operative sugar mills, so the price that is fixed depends on the financial condition of the mills.
"We took action against those mills who gave prices lesser than the FRB last year, but this year sugar prices have gone up and the production is low. We will take action against the agitating farmers, sugar mills and the mill directors who are flouting laws."
The sugar mills are willing to pay up to Rs 2,300 per tonne while the farmers are reluctant to accept less than Rs 3,000 per tonne.