Karthik Madhavan

It stipulates that they get NOC from sugar mills before selling to others

The order directs the mills to issue the certificate within 14 days

It is against farmers getting a good price: forum

ERODE: Sugarcane growers here are upset with an order of the Commissioner of Sugar.

The order, in effect, allows farmers who have not committed their cane to mills to sell them only after obtaining a no-objection certificate from the mills concerned. The farmers usually enter into a contract with the mills, especially the ones in whose command area they are located.

Each mill has a command area of sugarcane-growing regions that the State government allots.

And, farmers who have registered themselves with mills have to sell the cane only to the mills.

However, farmers in command areas can choose not to enter into any such agreement, so that could sell to anyone.

The Commissioner’s order is directed at the unregistered farmers. Fearing shortage of cane, the September 18 order says: “On account of the expansion of private sugar mills and setting up of new sugar mills in Tamil Nadu, there may be a scarcity of sugarcane for the capacity utilisation of some of the existing and proposed mills.” “These mills would attract the farmers in the areas of other mills, resulting in unauthorised movement of registered/unregistered sugarcane.”

Calling for restriction of the sugarcane movement, the order reads: “It is proposed to prohibit the transport of sugarcane, either registered or unregistered with the cooperative, public and private mills, during the 2008-09 crushing season from the reserved areas of cooperative, public and private sugar mills with immediate effect.”

It says that if the unregistered farmers have to sell sugarcane outside the command areas, they will have to obtain the no-objection certificate from the mills in their respective area.

The order directs mills to issue the certificates within 14 days. If they do not do so, farmers can appeal to the Commissioner.

Farmers here allege the order amounts to usurping their rights.

“Globalisation calls for free movement of goods so that farmers get good price. This order is against farmers getting a good price,” says C. Nallasamy of the LBP Farmers’ Association.

“Enslaving farmers”

The order, he says, was aimed at “enslaving” the farmers. The government has not only fixed the price for sugarcane but also the buyer. The LBP ayacut alone has 30,000 acres under sugarcane.

V. M. Velayudham of the Kalingarayan Farmers’ Association wonders when mills are not able to cut registered cane by the tenth month but forced to do so only after 14 months, how the Commissioner has passed “an unjustifiable order” asking the unregistered farmers to obtain the certificate.

The Kalingarayan ayacut has sugarcane on nearly 10,000 acres.

The farmer leaders want the government to relax the norm to allow free movement of cane.