Sugar factories told to settle arrears to farmers

While the resumption of crushing activities in sugar factories has brought cheers to sugarcane growers, the district administration has issued notices to the factories, warning of cancelling their licenses for the distillery units if arrears are not settled within seven days.

As a first step, the sugar stocks in the factory godowns were seized by the Food and Civil Supplies Department recently.

Deputy Commissioner Dr Ajay Nagabhushan has issued notices to NSL Sugars at Koppa in Maddur taluk and Cham Sugars at Bharathinagar on August 21.

According to the notice, the factories have to settle the dues within seven days of receiving the notices. Otherwise, a proposal would be submitted to the excise commissioner recommending cancellation of the licences of the distillery units as per the Karnataka Excise Act, 1965.

According to the DC, it is not possible for the sugar factories to make profit by manufacturing only sugar and hence, they depend on by-products. If the distillery units are denied permission, the factories will be forced to pay the arrears.

Rs 54-cr pending

During the year 2014-15, five sugar factories in the district had crushed 33.48 lakh tonnes of sugarcane and had to pay Rs 741 crore. Out of this, they had settled Rs 686 crore. Apart from ICL Sugars in K R Pet, other factories have Rs 54.24 crore pending.

The notice says that a study on farmer suicides has highlighted crop loss, financial crisis and debts. The pending bills of sugar factories, amounting to crores of rupees, is also one of the reason. Hence, the arrears should be paid to farmers within seven days, it states.

The Food and Civil Supplies Department officials, who recently raided Cham Sugars and NSL factories, seized the sugar stocks and sealed the godowns.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, DC Dr Nagabushan said if the bills are not settled within the stipulated time, it would be inevitable to take legal action against the factories.

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