Pay farmers' dues or face action, sugar factory owners told

Pay farmers' dues or face action, sugar factory owners told

Pay farmers' dues or face action, sugar factory owners told

The State government has said that civil and criminal action is imminent in the next two days, if sugar factories do not abide by the High Court ruling and the decision taken by the  Karnataka State Sugarcane Purchase and Supply Control Board to pay farmers a remuneration of Rs 2,500 per tonne of the cane.

Following an unsuccessful meeting between the government and the sugar factory owners, Sugar Minister Prakash Hukkeri, Law Minister T B Jayachandra, Agriculture Minister Krishna Byregowda and Co-operation Minister H S Mahadeva Prasad told reporters that the negotiations were over and that the factory owners had to pay the arrears to the farmers.

“The government has made it clear that there will be no more negotiations. On Monday, we had a meeting with the factory owners, based on a request by the chief minister, to impress upon them that they have to pay the farmers their dues of Rs 2,500 ex-gate in South Karnataka and Rs 2,500 ex-field in North Karnataka districts,” said Hukkeri.

Jayachandra said that the arrears amounted to Rs 3,391.17 crore, which the factory owners have to start paying to the farmers in the next two days.

“The government is left with no option, but to initiate action against the factory owners if they fail to start the remuneration process in the next two days. Action is all but imminent,” he said.

Jayachandra said that the government can initiate civil and criminal action under the  Karnataka State Sugarcane Purchase and Supply Control Board Act, 2013, and the Sugar Control Act, 1967.

He said that the government, on its part, has already released Rs 350 crore to give farmers Rs 150 per tonne of the cane supplied, as support price.

Jayachandra said that the balance of Rs 250 crore will be released in the next few days, as promised by the government.

Byregowda said that factory owners were dragging their feet and that it was time for them to pay the farmers their dues.

“The recovery of sugar is the highest in the country. Further, the factories are reaping the benefits of the Rs 1,067-crore soft loan which was given to them by the Centre with a repayment plan of three years.Also, sugar prices have increased from Rs 26 per kg to Rs 31 per kg, giving the factory owners good relief,” he said.

The sugar factory owners have sought time of one week for submitting to the government their instalment plan to distribute the arrears.

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