A staff at the plant said that he was not authorised to speak about the reasons for the non-functioning of the plant and directed to speak to senior officials.

A large number of sugarcane-laden trucks from many southern districts and as far as from Udumalpet have been waiting here for over a week in front of the state-run sugar factory at Alanganallur as crushing has “been suspended temporarily”.

According to truck drivers and farmers, there is no official word from the sugar factory authorities for the sudden suspension of activity. “They keep repeating that some technical snag had developed in the boiler plant. It would be rectified soon,” said a lorry driver Siva from Mettupatti, near here.

The sugarcane growers said that the endless wait had only resulted in mental agony. Though the weather is chill, the temperature during the day is worrying all of us. The sugarcane had started drying due to this, a farmer Anbu from Sivaganga district said.

Some truck drivers from Udamalpet said, the sudden stoppage of the plant had come as a shock. We have no change of clothes. The money we had for filling diesel in the return direction had been spent on food all these days, they claimed.

Another driver Mani from Melur said, “I am the owner-cum-driver of the lorry. Since Wednesday afternoon, I am waiting here with the 10-ton load of sugarcane cut from a near by farm…We are all clueless as to when they would off-load the goods and relieve us,” he added.

When The Hindu photographer was taking a few pictures of trucks waiting with the sugarcane, some persons under the pretext of security guards prevented from taking any pictures. However, a staff at the plant intervened, but said, that he was not authorised to speak about the reasons for the non-functioning of the plant and directed to speak to senior officials.

A reliable source, who had knowledge about the sugar factory, told The Hindu that the crushing activity for the season commenced since December 1, 2012. So far, a little over 50,000 tons of sugarcane had been crushed in the last 30 days. There was a leak in the boiler. It is being attended. In a day or two, it should be completely set in, he hoped.

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