SUCI activists protest in Kolkata against government's anti-jute policy
Members of the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) protested outside the governor's residence in Kolkata on Friday against the government's decision to announce use of synthetic bags for the packaging of food crops.
The government has announced a cap of 60 percent synthetic bags for sugar packaging and 40 percent for other food crops.
The protesters gathered outside the governor's residence and shouted slogans against the federal and state government.
Heavy police force was already deployed outside the residence to tackle the protest.
The protesters were rounded up and detained.
"The government has announced that 60 percent synthetic bags will be used for packing sugar and 40 percent for other crops. This announcement creates a big problem for the jute industry of West Bengal and the woes of farmers will also increase because they have started to face losses of rupees 500 to 1000 for one bag. This decision is a big blow to us and is taken on the direction of the Ambani's (Reliance) to introduce synthetic bags for food crops," said Santi Ghosh, a protester.
The government has allowed millers to sell 4 million tonnes of non-levy sugar in October and November, higher than the average monthly allocation of around 1.7 million tonnes.
India's sugar output in the 2012/13 year, which started on Oct. 1, is likely to fall to 23.5-24 million tonnes from 26 million tonnes a year earlier.
Indian mills have signed deals to buy up to 450,000 tonnes of Brazilian raw sugar for delivery from October to December as a gap between domestic and overseas prices widens, making room for the first imports in more than two years.