‘Pay my money soon. Or else, give me a rope so that I can hang myself’

Sugarcane farmers urged the management of the Bidar Sahakari Sakkare Karakhane to pay them their arrears. They were speaking at a meeting held on the factory premises in Hallikhed-B village in Humnabad taluk on Tuesday.

“I have no clothes to wear. I have borrowed someone’s shirt to come to this meeting,” said a farmer from Gundur. Pay my money soon. Or else, give me a rope so that I can hang myself,” he told the management.

Veerbhushan Nandagave, the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha leader, said that only farmers were not being paid on time. He said that Sanjay Kheny, BSSK president, had broken his promise of paying their arrears in a month. He displayed a copy of a written assurance signed by Mr. Kheny.

Reacting to Mr. Kheny’s announcement that he would resign, Moinuddin Ladji, KRRS leader, said that farmers were not worried about whether Mr. Kheny continued as the BSSK president or resigned. “Nor are we bothered about who becomes the next president. We want our arrears to be paid immediately,” he said.

Some leaders said they would urge the government to supersede the factory management and appoint an administrator.

Rajshekar Patil, MLA, said that Ashok Kheny, MLA, had earlier promised to strengthen the factory using his own money. Based on such assurances, we supported his cousin, Sanjay Kheny, to become the president.

Sangamesh Malchapure, factory director, urged Mr. Ashok Kheny to either donate or lend money to the factory management so that the arrears of the sugarcane farmers are paid. Mr. Ashok Kheny, however, rejected the suggestion saying that would not be legally valid. The Kheny cousins walked out of the meeting after this.

Some farmers said they had no faith in director Veeranna Patil’s promise that he would settle all arrears in a month. “The factory is facing a financial crisis and the directors are buying time by making false promises,” the sugarcane farmers said. Mr. Veeranna Patil, however, said he was willing to mortgage his personal property to seek bank loans. Other directors supported him.

The situation became tense after farmers started raising slogans against the management. But the police managed to control the situation by asking farmers to speak one by one.

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