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Like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, sugarcane farmers in Karnataka too are awaiting for payment of cane dues. Cane growers in Belgaum are angry as they have not received arrears of sugarcane, which they sold to sugar mills.
Karnataka State Sugar Cane Growers Association President Kurubur Shanthakumar led the delegation to the Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to make him aware of the farmers suffering.
CM assured a farmers delegation of an early resolution to some of their pending demands including early clearance of dues by Sugar Mills and withdrawal of cases filed against them.
Shanthakumar said that the delay in making payment at a time when farmers were yet to recover from back-to-back drought was akin to adding insult to injury. While the payment due to the farmers was being delayed, the government had raised the minimum selling price of Sugar per kg from Rs 29 to Rs 31 so as to benefit factory owners.
The farmers also drew attention of the Chief Minister to cases filed against them for taking part in protests and agitations to fight for their legitimate rights. “Some of these cases were registered almost a year ago and have not yet been withdrawn.”
The farmers received an assurance from the Chief Minister that a meeting would be convened on May 27 and steps would be taken to ensure that cases registered against farmers were withdrawn, he added.
Shahsikant Joshi, a sugarcane farmer, claimed that sugar mills are not paying sugarcane price according to fixed FRP. He said, “Sugarcane commissioner issued orders to sugar mills to clear pending arrears or to face action under Revenue and Recovery Code (RRC), but it seems millers are not paying attention to it.”
Joshi feels Karnataka should follow the footsteps of Maharashtra in order to clear cane arrears.
The rule mandates that FRP amount should be deposited to the farmers’ bank accounts within 14 days after the sugarcane harvest is handed over to the factory owners, but the mills failed to do so. Millers are citing that excess sugar production and depressed domestic sugar prices have led to an accumulation of cane price arrears.