Sugarcane farmers’ issue rocks the Goa state assembly

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Panaji: The issues related to the plight of the sugarcane farmers rocked the Goa legislative assembly forcing Speaker Rajesh Patnekar to adjourn the proceeding two times on Friday.

The legislative assembly has witnessed disruptions several times over the issues related to tourism and drugs but for the first time, there was heated discussion and arguments over the plight of sugarcane farmers and the issues they are facing.

The Opposition members stormed the well of the House twice attacking the government over not clearing the cane dues of sugarcane farmers in South Goa and the inability of the government to restart the Sanjivani Sakhar Karkhana, the only sugar factory in the state.

During the question hour, former deputy chief minister and Goa Forward party MLA Vijai Sardesai said, “This government has not only held out payments in crores due to farmers, but no steps have been taken to restart the factory which was operational till sometime back.”

“The factory was set up in 1972 during the reign of first Chief Minister Dayanand Bandodkar and has an excellent track record,” he said.

The mismanagement of government and shortage of sugarcane at local level deteriorated the financial situation of the mill which was shut down in 2020.

The closure of the mill has put the fate of around 800 sugarcane farmers in the doldrums.

Chandrakant Kavlekar, Agriculture Minister and deputy chief minister said that the delay in cane payment is due to the differences between two farmers’ organisations and not on the parts of the state government. We have not withheld payments of the farmers. We told the two committees to discuss and submit a formula.

“We have made a provision of Rs 10 crore and we are willing to pay,” he said.

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