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Congress slams BJP says, it 'ignored' plight of Uttar Pradesh's once thriving sugar industry

Updated on: 22 May,2024 02:06 PM IST  |  New Delhi
mid-day online correspondent |

It also accused BJP of neglecting farmers' frequent calls to increase the price of sugarcane

Congress slams BJP says, it 'ignored' plight of Uttar Pradesh's once thriving sugar industry

Jairam Ramesh. File Pic

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Congress slams BJP says, it 'ignored' plight of Uttar Pradesh's once thriving sugar industry

The Congress on Wednesday slammed BJP saying that it 'ignored' the plight of Uttar Pradesh's once thriving sugar industry. It also accused BJP of neglecting farmers' frequent calls to increase the price of sugarcane. Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh posed questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of his rallies in Shravasti and Basti. 

"Why does Shravasti has the highest infant mortality rate in UP? Why have 189 primary schools in Basti been declared unusable? Why has the BJP neglected Basti's sugarcane farmers and sugar mills?" Ramesh said on X. Elaborating on what he said were "jumla details", the Congress leader said Shravasti ranks among India's most underdeveloped districts on several parameters and 96 of every 1,000 children die within a year of being born, much more than the UP's shamefully high average of 68 deaths per 1000 births.

"While there should be 36 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in Shravasti, 1 for every 30,000 residents, the district only has 11 PHCs, which amounts to 1 PHC for more than 1 lakh residents," he said.

Most PHCs suffer from severe staff shortages, while some are inaccessible by road and others no longer have their own building, he said. "Only one of the 11 PHCs in the district was found to be fully staffed. Why has the BJP failed to provide basic healthcare services in Shravasti?" Ramesh quoted. He also pointed out the Congress Nyay Patra promises to fill all vacancies, specifically in the health sector and to upgrade all PHCs in the country. What is the BJP's vision to address this crisis, he asked.

He further added that recently, 189 government primary schools in Basti were declared unusable due to the dangerously dilapidated condition of the school buildings. 

"The schools that have remained open do not fare much better, with students of classes 1-5 crammed into tiny rooms in crumbling buildings. While one school is being run out of an Anganwadi centre because it lacks a building, another school was found to only exist on paper, as no school of that name was found on the ground," he claimed.

"The Bharatiya Janata Party's functionaries have not hesitated to jeopardise the education and health of students to line their own pockets. Why have the outgoing PM and the BJP been unable to provide functional and safe schools for UP's children?" Ramesh said.

Ramesh also said that Uttar Pradesh is India's largest sugarcane producer at one time and Basti was home to four sugar mills - the Rudhauli Athdama Bajaj Hindustan Sugar Mill, Basti Sugar Mill, Munderao Sugar Mill and Kaptanganj Sugar Mill.

Yet, the BJP government has neglected farmers' frequent calls to increase the price of sugarcane, he said.

"Prices stand at just Rs.360/quintal in UP, much lower than Rs.386/quintal in Punjab and Rs.391/quintal in Haryana. Price hikes have also failed to keep pace with inflation and farmers are now struggling due to the rising cost of fertiliser and pesticides," Ramesh said.

The area under cultivation has also come down by almost 4000 hectares in the last three years, which is now causing problems for the sugar mills. Amidst cane shortages, mills are struggling to pay farmers on time, and many fear that the mills will shut down permanently, he said.

"This vicious cycle is threatening the livelihoods of sugarcane farmers and mill workers but the BJP government is nowhere to be seen. Can the outgoing PM tell us why the BJP has ignored the plight of UP's once thriving sugar industry?" Ramesh said and asked the prime minister to break his silence on these issues.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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