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Sugarcane farmers continue protest near office complex

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MATTER OF LIVELIHOOD: Farmers squatting on roads in front of Deputy Commissioners' office complex in Bagalkot on Saturday.
MATTER OF LIVELIHOOD: Farmers squatting on roads in front of Deputy Commissioners' office complex in Bagalkot on Saturday.

Staff Correspondent

Farmers are seeking Rs. 1,200 for a tonne of sugarcane; ban orders in force

  • Farmers are seeking Rs. 1,200 for a tonne of sugarcane
  • They have threatened to close private sugar factories

    BAGALKOT: Authorities extended ban orders in and around Deputy Commissioner's office complex here as sugarcane farmers continued their agitation demanding that their produce be purchased at the rate of at least Rs. 1200 a tonne.

    The ban will be in force till Monday in the 200-metre radius of the office complex. Police have been deployed as the agitating farmers have threatened to lay siege to the complex. Besides Deputy Commissioner's office, the complex housed offices of 32 departments. All these offices remained inaccessible to public for the last three days.

    The agitators have been camping on roads 200 metres away from the complex since Thursday. Food is also prepared at the agitation venue.

    Health deteriorates

    Meanwhile, the condition of Mallappa Appanna Bhavi from Tolamatti village in Bilagi taluk, who has been observing fast, deteriorated on Friday and was given glucose intravenously.

    He was on a fast along with Basavaraj Kokatnur, another farmer from Jagadale in Jamkhandi taluk from Thursday.

    Addressing the agitating farmers on Saturday, zilla panchayat member Ramesh Gadannavar, who has been leading the agitation, warned that if the

    Government failed to settle the issue by Sunday, agitation would be intensified.

    The agitators requested the Government to stop sugarcane crushing at three private factories Jamkhandi Sugars, Nirani Sugars and Jem Sugars, till the issue was settled. If the issue was not settled, the agitators would force these factories to close, he said. He said as a last resort, the farmers would send their produce to sugar mills in Maharashtra.

    On Friday evening, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Govind Karjol met the agitators and said the Government would hold one more round of talks with sugar factories in an effort to persuade them to give Rs. 1200 a tonne for sugarcane.

    Referring to the latest offer by private factory managements, Mr. Karjol, who is also district in-charge Minister, said they were now ready to give Rs. 1,000 a tonne. But it was not agreeable to either the Government or farmers. The factory managements would be invited to another round of talks in Bangalore in a day or two, he said.

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