Sugar factories owe Rs 222 cr to farmers

Sugar factories owe Rs 222 cr to farmers

The problems faced by sugar cane growers in the district doesn’t seem to end. The pending bills for cane supplied amounting up to Rs 222 crore and the reluctance on the part of sugar factories to pay the price fixed by Centre for a tonne of sugar cane, has left the district farmers with a bitter taste.

The Centre had fixed the fair and remunerative price (FRP) of Rs 2,300 per tonne of sugar cane supplied by the farmer to factories. But, the factories have failed to abide by the directions, including Bannari Amman factory in Mysuru district. MySugar factory, which is the lifeline of farmers of Mandya had failed to start operations this year. Hence, the sugar cane supplied by farmers in the region had to be diverted to Bannari Amman.

According to sources, the district has produced 27.9 lakh metric tonnes of sugar cane. So far, 25 lakh metric tonnes have been crushed. The factories have begun crushing the remaining cane. As per the FRP suggested by the Centre, the factories had to pay Rs 577 crore. But, till now they have paid only Rs 355 crore and Rs 221.76 crore is pending.

The sugar factories are not agreeing to pay the FRP, citing various reasons. But, the farmers, led by Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, have staged several protests demanding FRP for their produce.

Meetings presided over by Deputy Commissioner Ajay Nagabushan to resolve the issue between farmers and factory owners have failed to arrive on a consensus. Finally, tahsildars raided NSL Sugars at Maddur, Chamundeshwari, Coromandel factories and seized stocks of sugar.

However, Nagabushan had said that with the increase in sugar prices, the NSL and Coromandel sugar factories had agreed to pay FRP to the cane supplied by the farmers. But, till now it has remained on papers.

Pending bills

The four sugar factories in the district owe arrears of Rs 221.76 crore. As per norms, the bills should be settled to the farmers within 14 days of supplying cane or settled with interest amount till the prolonged period. But, even after months, the bills are yet to be settled. The farmers have been running from pillar to post.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Deputy Commissioner Ajay Nagabushan said, “NSL and Coromandel factories have been directed to settle the arrears at the earliest.”

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