The sugar mills have again deferred payments to the growers; the amount is as much as Rs 43 billion. Though this is an old form of exploitation, broadly speaking it remains a regular practice, in part because justice remains a scare commodity. It is not uncommon for the miller to deny a farmer his cash in order to strap him to his mill only, a stratagem to force him to keep on providing him with the crop the entire season through. The farmers’ circumstances are also often ignored. They are about transporting the sugarcane to the mills, as well as dealing with the unscrupulous middleman who would not stop short of extracting his ‘cut’ at the cost of the farmer’s due share of profits.

The agriculturists have been running from pillar to post to make their complaints heard but to no avail. The mills have to understand that the payments need to be made on time. This is necessary because not only the farmers need money to survive in this age of rampaging inflation but also to till the land for next crop. The mill owners often take the argument that payments to the growers can be made only after the government buys the stock of sugar; there is virtually no link between the two. Cash crop is meant to fetch payment when it is delivered, a factor without which there would not be any enticement for the growers to sweat over it the entire season.