Growing sugarcane could now be a sweet experience for farmers in Karnataka.
The long standing demand of the sugarcane growers for scientific pricing of sugarcane and time-bound payment from sugar factories, is coming into effect in the form of a law.
The Karnataka Sugarcane (Purchase and Supply Control) Act-2013 coming into effect and the same being notified in the State Gazette is seen as a victory for farmers.
The Karnataka Sugarcane (Purchase and Supply Control) Bill was tabled in the Legislature session held at the Suvarna Vidhan Soudha in the city in December 2012, after farmers from across the State had staged demonstrations demanding implementation of State Advisory Price (SAP).
The then chief minister Jagadish Shettar had assured the farmers of getting the bill passed in the legislature.
The Bill was approved by the legislature during the session held in the month of February. But Governor H R Bhardwaj accorded the approval on March 8 and the bill was notified in the gazette on March 12.
According to the new Act, a Sugarcane Control Board (SCB) will be formed and farmers will get scientific price for their produce.
Sugarcane growers expressed satisfaction over the Act which also paves way for them to prosecute factories that delay payments for their produce.
The Board will be a bridge between the sugarcane growers and sugar factories and will create healthy relationship between them.
The SCB will have sugar minister as chairman and agriculture minister as co-chairman.
Its members comprise, finance department secretary, industries and commerce department secretary, sugar development commissioner, sugar director, five sugarcane growers and five members of the sugar factories nominated by the government.The members, once nominated by the government, will not be re-nominated.
The Board will consider the period from October 1 to September 30 of the following year as sugarcane season and will have to meet at least thrice during the season.
Sugarcane prices will be decided by the SCB based on the pricing of sugar and other allied products by the factories. It will also guide government regarding the varieties of sugarcane that have to be grown in respective areas, ban on certain varieties of sugarcane seeds, sugarcane varieties not suitable for factories, weighing of crop and supervision.
Factories will have to make payment for the sugarcane procured within 14 days and if they fail to do so they will have to compensate it with interest.
Those violating the law will be imprisoned for one year along with a fine of Rs 5,000. State Sugarcane Growers Association President Kurubur Shantakumar welcomed formation of the SCB and expected that soon it would come into effect.
He demanded that government nominate experts in the Board for studying production cost for farmers along with auditors who could study accounts of the factories and help in the pricing of sugarcane.