Aska Cooperative Sugar Industries Limited (ACSIL) authorities on Thursday promised sugarcane growers compensation for the losses due to delay in procurement of sugarcane after giving cutting orders.

This promise was made during a meeting between representatives of sugarcane growers, leaders of All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) and authorities of the sugar factory. This meeting included managing director of the ACSIL Basant Behera, AIKMS leaders like its national committee member Bhala Chandra Sarangi, Umakant Patnaik, Balaji Badatya and leaders of sugarcane cultivators like Kalinga Pradhan. Around 30 representatives of sugarcane growers attended the meeting. The ACSIL authorities were compelled to hold this meeting following a more than 12-hour road blockade of Digaphandi-Hinjli road by sugarcane growers in Sankhemundi block on Wednesday.

According to Mr. Sarangi, the sugar factory authorities accepted that delay in procurement of sugarcane from farmers even after gibving cutting orders was leading to losses. As per the norms after cutting order from the sugar factory a farmer cuts off the sugarcane and carries it to a point from where it can be lifted to trucks. From this point sugarcane has to reach the factory within eight hours. But there have been instances where sugarcane cut from fields have not been lifted even after ten days of cutting due to which sugarcanes are drying up leading to weight loss and decrease in income of farmers.

The ACSIL authorities and the sugarcane growers agreed that steps should be taken so that the cut sugarcane could reach the factory within 24 hours. The ACSIL authorities also declared that a compensation package would be declared soon for the sugarcane growers who have incurred losses due to non-use of sugarcane by the factory in proper time.

In may be noted that following collapse of a molasses storage tank at the ACSIL in January sugarcane, crushing process had been stopped for nearly ten days. It had also led to loss for the farmers whose sugarcane remained dumped without crushing.

The AIKMS also demanded that the ACSIL take up social security measures for the sugarcane growers attached to it. They also wanted the factory to issue identity cards to the farmers providing sugarcane to it.