Staff Correspondent

It is demanding that farmers be paid Rs. 300 a tonne

  • Government urged to help cooperative factories obtain loans
  • Chief Minister asked to intervene and address their problems

    BIDAR: Bidar Sahakari Sakkare Karakhane (BSSK) has demanded that the Government pay sugarcane farmers an incentive of Rs. 300 a tonne.

    BSSK chairman Ishwar Khandre said in a release issued here on Wednesday that the price of sugar was low both in the country and abroad, and this was forcing sugar factories to delay payments to farmers. He demanded that the Government intervene by paying incentives to the farmers.

    He said this was being been done in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, where sugarcane growers were also being given transport subsidies. This had helped farmers in those States avoid losses, he added.

    "We had earlier agreed to pay farmers Rs. 1,100 a tonne and have already released Rs. 800 a tonne. We will release the rest depending on our earnings at the end of the season. Until then, the Government should help farmers," he said.

    Seeking loans

    Mr. Khandre demanded that the Government also help cooperative sugar factories obtain loans from the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) and from banks, by standing as guarantor for them. The BSSK had made several requests in this regard to the Government but in vain.

    He said the NCDC gave factories Rs. 15 crore in loans at nine per cent interest. However, by not standing as guarantor, the State Government was not permitting these factories to avail of these loans, he said.

    Both the Union and State governments had a moral right to help farmers, he said, as they received taxes of Rs. 175 a tonne and Rs. 125 a tonne respectively.

    Mr. Khandre said international sugar prices had tumbled from Rs. 1,570 for a quintal just six months ago to Rs. 1,200 for a quintal. This was not only bad for factories but also farmers who supplied sugarcane on credit, he said, and added that a delegation of the managements of factories had approached Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, urging him to intervene and address their problems.