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Following gherao, Gujarat chief secretary "assures" protesting tribal farmers: Sugarcane dues would be paid

By Our Representative
The Adivasi Kisan Sangharsh Manch's (AKSM's) activists in South Gujarat gheroed Gujarat chief secretary D Jageetha Pandian during his visit to the South Gujarat town of Vyara on April 6 to press for their demand for early payment of sugarcane dues to the tribal farmers, pending for several years now.
AKSM's Romel Sutariya, who led the struggle, which involved large number of women, said, "The chief secretary finally met and assured us that the matter would be discussed at the next Cabinet meeting in Gandhinagar."
Rs 17 crore worth of dues remain to be paid to tribal farmers, which, according to Sutariya, is is not being paid because the cooperative of the 40 sugar mills in the region, Shri Ukai Pradesh Khand Udyog Mandli Ltd, has been closed. The AKSM, an upcoming tribal farmer body of South Gujarat, has been demanding a Rs 200 crore package from the Gujarat government to revive the cooperative by holding fresh elections.
Claimed Sutariya, "The chief secretary met me after I declared my decision of self-immolation in case the dues are not paid. Among those who took part in the gherao before the chief secretary called us to meet were mainly women."
During the meeting with the chief secretary, Sutariya said, the AKSM submitted a memorandum, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, against the new land acquisition ordinance, 2015, promulgated by the Government of India last week, demanding that it be immediately repealed.
"Thc meeting with the chief secretary lasted for one-and-a-half hours", Sutatiya said, adding, "On our demand, he ordered immediate arrangements to ensure water supply to the tribals or the region, which still has no such facility." 

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