Sugarcane growers hit by Cyclone Phailin and flood in Ganjam district asked the State government to come up with a special package for them as early as possible.

The demand was made during a meeting of sugarcane growers called up by the Ganjam district unit of the All India Kishan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) at Shergarh on Wednesday. Sugarcane growers of Shergarh, Aska, Dharakote, Kavisuryanagar, Sanakhemundi and Surada blocks of Ganjam district attended the meeting.

It may be noted that as per an initial assessment cyclone and floods had damaged sugarcane crop in around 9,000 hectares of land and the loss to the farmers was worth around Rs. 70 crore. The Rajya Sabha MP Renubala Pradhan had also urged the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for immediate measures to alleviate condition of sugarcane growers. According to the peasant leaders the Chief Ministers had also promised for a special package for the devastated sugarcane growers of Ganjam district.

“But the promised package has not yet been released,” alleged Ganjam district president of the AIKMS Uma Kant Patnaik. After detailed discussions about their problems the sugarcane growers came up with a series of demands which they would put forward before the administration and government. It may be noted that real crop loss of sugarcane sector has not yet been assessed yet as it would be done only after crop cutting.

The sugarcane growers demanded that the State government provide compensation of Rs. 30,000 for every acre of sugarcane crop damaged. They wanted waiver of agricultural loans for sugarcane cultivation. They wanted the sugarcane in fields to be procured by Aska Cooperative Sugar Industry Limited (ACSIL) at the right time so that they do not dry up to become unusable. “The ACSIL should procure the sugarcane at prescribed rate without making any deductions in the name of deterioration of quality due to cyclonic damage,” said a sugarcane grower Pitabas Pradhan. The sugarcane growers also demanded all sugarcane cultivation to be put under umbrella of crop insurance by the ACSIL.