Pending cane arrears: Sugarcane farmers to explore legal option

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Sugarcane farmers in Karnataka’s ‘sugar bowl’ Mandya are up in arms because since long they are awaiting for their cane dues to be cleared.

Now, the cane growers have decided to explore legal options, including filing police complaints, against two private sugar mills.

The four sugar mills that are functioning in the district owe farmers Rs 102.35 crore.

Farmers had staged a demonstration against sugar mills to press for their demands to clear pending arrears, but nothing worked for them. Finally, after getting no respite, 100 sugarcane farmers had approached the police station with individual complaints against NSL Sugars and Chamundeswari Sugar mills. However, senior cops assured them of getting their dues before Monday.

Annur Mahendra, district vice-president, KRRS, said,”Both the mills have failed to clear the farmers’ dues. We will file complaints seeking action against the defaulters,”

According to news reports, the four operating mills had obtained sugarcane worth Rs 573.06 crore from the farmers in the current season. However, they paid only Rs 470.71 crore till April 22.

The rule mandates that cane amount should be deposited to the farmers’ bank accounts within 14 days after the sugarcane harvest is handed over to the factory owners, but millers failed to do so.

A senior official talking to a leading news website said, “The sugar mills in default have sugar stock of 13.92 lakh quintal. Notices have been sent to them, and we can seize the stock and auction it, after obtaining permissions from authorities, to clear the pending arrears.”

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