ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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BRUSSELS- New Parities

October 18, 1969 LUCKNOW The Socialist Race SUGAR is no longer sweet in UP. High prices have made it bitter for the consumer, and the producer faoes the prospect of nationalisation. UP was the first State to declare, through its Legislative Assembly, as early as 1946, that liquidation of capitalism and socialisation of the principal means of production, exchange and distribution was its social objective. Now about 130 Congress MLAs have signed a memorandum asking for the take-over of the sugar industry. SSP stands for social control; BKD favours nationalisation; even Jan Sangh is not opposed to nationalisation. In his study of "Factional Politics in an Indian State: The Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh", Paul R Brass has devoted a full chapter to the politics of sugar. Alas, nobody has looked into the economics of sugar in the State. Even those who are seriously and honestly crusading for nationalisation of the sugar industry are ignorant of crucial facts relating to the industry. There are 72 mills, including 4 co-operatives. The book value of the fixed assets of most of these mills is about nil. There are about 100,000 workers employed in the industry. The crushing capacity is about 15 lakh tonnes per year, but trie major part of it is never utilised. The sugarcane growers are highly organised. The Sugarcane Marketing Federation is the apex organisation of the primary sugarcane growers societies and has a membership of 22 lakhs. The sugar industry owes them Rs 3 crores for the cane purchased and crushed and the sugar sold. There are arrears to be paid to the workers by way of wages, and of taxes to the State. The exact amount cannot be ascertained. According to one estimate, each factory is making no less than Rs 10 lakhs as profit each year; and this is not being ploughed back into renovation. Though it is the most important industry of the State on the score of employment, it has ceased to offer any future prospect for the State.

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