Start crushing sugar cane or face action, DC tells Amman factory

Aug 15 set as deadline to resume operation; farmers call off strike planned on Aug 11

Following the surge in cases of farmer suicides, the district administration is on toes to find out ways to check recurrence of such incidents. On Friday, Deputy Commissioner C Shikha set a deadline for the management of Bannari Amman Sugar Factory to start crushing operation from August 15.

Presiding over a meeting with the factory officials and representatives of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and Rajya Kabbu Belegarara Sangha (State Sugarcane Growers Association), the deputy commissioner also requested the sugar factory managements in the neighbouring districts to resume operations at the earliest.

Taking cognisance of standing crops that have completed 14 months and ready for harvest, the deputy commissioner said that failure on the part of sugar factories may push the farmers to the brink of taking any extreme steps.

Some of the farmers have already ended their lives triggering a dangerous situation in society. In the wake of this, the factories should respond to the farmers who are eager to supply their produce to the factories. Both men and materials (at the factory) should be readied and in the case of otherwise, action will be initiated, the deputy commissioner warned.

Following the demand of fixing fair and remunerative price for per tonne of produce, the deputy commissioner expressed her helplessness, as she was not vested with power over the same.

The Sugar Control Board constituted for the purpose is expected to take a decision either on August 10 or 11. Even then, if no price is fixed after the reopening of the factory, the management should pay the advance as per the price of the previous year and settle the arrears once the new price is fixed.

‘No disparity’

The deputy commissioner categorically directed the factory representatives not to create disparity in the name of red and white sugarcane produce, legal (those who have entered into a contract with the factory) and other farmers. Though there is no difference in the yield of both red and white sugarcane, additional Rs 100 is collected as transportation charge for white cane. Those farmers outside the contract will have to pay Rs 100 as cutting charge.

Following a query, the deputy commissioner promised to soon take a decision on repaying the sugar cane growers, the additional amount collected during 2014-15.

In his reply, Assistant Manager of Bannari Amman factory Raghavendra said  that about 52 per cent of farmers cultivate white sugar cane and 40 per cent red. While the yield of white cane is less compared to other, but equal price is being given for both the varieties.

Secretary of KRRS district unit Hoskote Basavaraj demanded the district administration to fix Rs 2,520 per tonne as per the direction of the Central government. “Though the crop is ready for harvest, the factory is delaying crushing operation for no reasons,” he said.

Following the meeting, the KRRS withdrew its strike call on August 11. However, it warned of renewing their strike if the factory failed to abide by the deadline to resume crushing from August 15.

Senior Deputy Director of Food and Civil Supplies Department K Rameshwarappa, Assistant Commissioner, Hunsur sub-division, Jagadish, Joint Director of Agriculture Department, Mahanteshappa, farmer leaders Bhagyaraj and others attended the meeting.

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