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Compensation sought for uncrushed sugarcane

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Exhortation: Bijapur Zilla Panchayat member Panchappa Kalburgi addressing protesters in Indi taluk of Bijapur district on Monday.
Exhortation: Bijapur Zilla Panchayat member Panchappa Kalburgi addressing protesters in Indi taluk of Bijapur district on Monday.

Staff Correspondent

‘Farmers have borrowed lakhs of rupees for the crop’

A compensation of Rs. 25,000 for every hectare of uncrushed sugarcane was promised

Growers in the region have just Nandi Sugar Mills for selling their produce

Bijapur: Fifty one farmers from Indi and Sindagi taluk began their fast in front of the Indi Tahasidar’s office under the leadership of Bijapur Zilla Panchayat member Panchappa Kalburgi here on Monday demanding compensation for uncrushed sugarcane for 2006-07.

The protesters raised slogans against the State Government and Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for their failure to compensate the farmers. Addressing the agitators, Mr. Kalburgi said thousands of farmers in Indi and Sindagi taluk had grown sugarcane by taking lakhs of rupees as loans from banks and money lenders in 2006.

The Government had promised to fix a minimum support price of Rs. 1,400 a tonne of sugarcane and a compensation of Rs. 25,000 for every hectare of the uncrushed produce. Besides, sugar factories in Maharashtra had promised to buy cane at a higher price.

As soon as the harvesting season started, the Maharashtra Government found that there was surplus stock of sugarcane in the State. It issued a notification instructing sugar factories not to purchase cane from growers in Karnataka till the stocks in Maharashtra were cleared. As a result, the growers in Karnataka had to depend just on Shivkumar Sugar Factory and Nandi Sugar Mills in the region, Mr. Kalburgi said.

But the Shivkumar Sugar Factory was declared defunct because of some technical problems. The only option left with the farmers was selling the produce to Nandi Sugar Mills.

Realising the condition of farmers, the then Chief Minister H.D. Kumarswamy and then Finance Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa announced a compensation of Rs. 25,000 a hectare of uncrushed sugarcane.

The The Directorate of Sugar had instructed officials to take photographs of sugarcane fields with a digital camera and prepare a detailed report. But they took photographs with an ordinary camera.

The directorate rejected the report stating that teams had violated the norms. It also rejected several proposals from the team citing that proper signatures and seals of officers concerned were not there.

Mr. Yeddyurappa, who visited Sindagi and Indi taluks during Assembly elections, had promised to release compensation within a month if the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power, Mr. Kalburgi said. But even after four months, no steps had been taken in this regard, he added.

Sarvabouma Bagali, Indi MLA, spoke.

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