Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The Sugarcane Growers All-Party Action Committee has urged the government to immediately convene a meeting with the managements of sugar mills to announce the State Advisory Price (SAP) at Rs. 2,500 per tonne.

A delegation of the committee led by former Agriculture Minister Vadde Shobhanadreeswara Rao, Velagapudi Azad, convenor, and Muppalla Bhargvasree of the Rythu Coolie Sangham submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister K. Rosaiah and leaders of all political parties.

‘More in other States'

The former Minister said sugar factories in Maharashtra, Gujarat and North Karnataka were offering Rs. 2,200 to Rs. 2,400 per tonne as the first payment in addition to bearing the costs of harvesting and transportation. Uttar Pradesh paid Rs.2,500 per tonne. Some factories in the Northern and Southern parts of the State were offering Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 2,200 per tonne, several private factories established more than 50 years ago, whose financial position was sound, paid only Rs 1,900 to Rs. 2,000 per tonne, he complained.

Due to low statutory minimum price, sugarcane growers were shifting to other crops that brought comparatively better minimum support price. The area under cane had come down from 5.2 million hectares to 4.2 million hectares in the country in the last two years. In Andhra Pradesh, the cane area dwindled from 1.4 lakh hectares to 0.90 lakh hectares.

Area under cane drops

Reduction in area had forced the country to import 50 lakh tonnes of raw/white sugar last year and may further go up to 70 lakh tonnes in the current year, he said.