The Karnataka Rajya Kabbu Belagarara Sangh strongly criticised the State government in general and Minister for Sugar, Small Scale Industries and Muzrai Prakash B. Hukkeri for “appointing family members of sugar mill owners” to the Sugarcane Control Board.

Addressing presspersons after a sangha meeting here on Saturday, KRBBS State president Kurbur Shantkumar alleged that the government had “apparently yielded” to the influential sugar lobby in the State.

‘Under the influence’

Instead of appointing genuine representatives from farmers’ associations, the government handpicked the kin of sugar mill owners and those of politicians belonging to the ruling party, he alleged.

Among those appointed are the brother of S.R. Patil, Minister for Information Technology, and the sons of Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Minister for Horticulture and APMCs, and Bhimanna Khandre, veteran Congress leader.

“The State has proved again that it has become subservient to the exploitative sugarcane lobby,” he alleged.

He criticised successive State governments for their “selective sympathy”.

The government provided nearly Rs. 200 crore to the Mysugar Mill in Mandya during last six years, yet the factory could not improve sugar recovery beyond 8 per cent. It is high time that the government considered requests from cooperative sugar mills for financial support.

He disapproved of the offer of Rs. 2,400 a tonne of sugarcane as an ‘advance’ by the government for the ensuing crushing season.

Memorandum

Mr. Shantkumar announced that the sangh would first present a memorandum to the government on September 18, demanding at least Rs. 3,500 a tonne.

If the government failed to respond positively, it would launch a state-wide agitation from September 25.

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