Public hearing on division of sugarcane area among three sugar mills held as per HC order

A public hearing here on division of area under sugarcane among three sugar mills, two of them in the public sector, evoked mixed opinion from farmers on Thursday.

While many insisted on staying with public sector sugar mills at Eraiyur and Mohanur, a section wanted to opt for the private mill at Udumbiyam. The hearing was conducted as per the direction of the Madras High Court.

Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam State secretary Raja Chidambaram deplored the steep fall in farmers’ share in the Eraiyur sugar mill and favoured supply of sugarcane to public sector mills.

He pointed out that the farmers’ share in the public sector mill, which stood at 23 per cent in 1978, had come down to 5.7 per cent now. This meant that the farmer was getting increasingly devalued.

Farmers, now supplying their produce to public sector mills, were confident that they would get additional price for sugarcane supplied from 2004-05 to 2008-09, as per a court directive.

A section of farmers from Vengalam area wanted “free mill” choice, which would enable supply to the mill of their choice.

However, farmers around Udumbiyam favoured the private mill.

A.K. Rajendran, president, Tamil Nadu Sugarcane Farmers’ Association, A. Venugopal, president of the district unit, and N. Chelladurai, district secretary, said it would be easier for farmers to reach Eraiyur near Perambalur.

The meeting was convened by Mahesan Kasirajan, Director, Sugar, in the presence of Darez Ahamed, District Collector. The Madras High Court, in its order of June 8, 2010, had directed the officials to conduct a public hearing on division of sugarcane area, by inviting sugarcane farmers and representatives of farmers’ associations.

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