Special Correspondent

85 machines, each costing Rs.1.47 crore, to be bought

MADURAI: Sugarcane harvesting machines would be imported from China and supplied to cooperative and public sector sugar mills in the State. The State Government would purchase 85 harvesting/crushing machines and they would be given to 17 sugar mills under the cooperative sector, said P. Murugesa Boopathi, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore.

Addressing mediapersons here on Thursday, he said that the plan was to give five crushing machines, each costing Rs. 1.47 crore, to every cooperative sugar mill. “The university lays stress on agriculture mechanisation through special schemes and the proposal of buying sugarcane crushing machines was announced in the Assembly recently,” he said.

A team of university and Government officials saw the use of automated crushing machines during their visit to China, following which the decision was taken to introduce them in Tamil Nadu also. “The machines are called whole stock sugarcane harvesting machines and they will just cut and crush the sugarcane. Since there is difficulty in getting agricultural labour these days, these machines would be useful for sugarcane growers and mills in the State,” Dr. Boopathi said.

The Union Bank of India would give loan to private sugar mills and individuals, if they were interested in importing the machine from China, said its General Manager (Regional Office-Chennai) P. Y. Nagar, who was present at the press meet. “Our bank has been actively engaged in agri-business and there are 73 agriculture focused branches of our bank in Tamil the State,” he said.

The bank had recently recruited 50 Rural Development Officers — 45 were selected from the campus recruitment drive at the TNAU campus in Coimbatore.

The Vice-Chancellor, along with the Union Bank officials, participated in a seminar and inaugural function of farmers’ club at the Agricultural College and Research Institute here.