Andhra Pradesh

NCS Sugars begins crushing after being persuaded by govt.

Plant officials performing a puja before commencing the crushing of sugarcane crop, at NCS Sugars, Latchayyapeta, in Vizianagaram district on Saturday.

Plant officials performing a puja before commencing the crushing of sugarcane crop, at NCS Sugars, Latchayyapeta, in Vizianagaram district on Saturday.  

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Management has to pay farmers dues of ₹20 crore; awaiting a bailout package

Despite facing several odds, NCS Sugars Private Limited commenced sugarcane crushing at Latchayyapeta of Sitanagaram mandal in Vizianagaram district on Saturday.

The firm was learnt to be hesitant about taking up crushing activity in the current season between November 2019 and February 2020, in the backdrop of a farmers’ agitation for immediate payment of dues amounting to ₹20 crore.

Farmers have been up in arms against the company due to a reported delay in payments for the last couple of years.

After being persuaded by the district administration, the management reportedly agreed to commence crushing as the farmers had already grown sugarcane crop in 15,000 acres in Bobbili, Sitanagaram, Saluru and other mandals.

Company director Narayanam Srinivas performed a puja in the presence of some farmers and workers while seeking their cooperation for full-fledged operations of the factory. “We are willing to clear all the dues in a couple of months with the proposed sale of 75 acres of land out of 200 acres in which the factory was established long ago. We have also sought a bailout package from the government since the sugar business is no longer lucrative in the country. That is why more than 20 factories out of 33 were closed both in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States,” he said.

Mr. Srinivas said that the company pays farmers around ₹2,750 for every tonne of sugarcane, which yields nearly 100 kg of sugar that is currently priced at ₹3,100 in the market. Sugar factories can survive only when the price is above ₹3,500 per quintal with the skyrocketing maintenance cost and transport charges, he said.

The government stopped buying electricity from a co-generation plant which was established at an investment of ₹100 crore, which is said to be the main reason behind the factory’s financial crisis. “Fortunately, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is keen on reviving sugar factories. We request him to extend us full support as Vizianagaram does not have any industries except a few agro-based factories,” Mr. Srinivas said.

CPI(M), which has been organising many protests demanding payment of dues, alleged that the company was coming up with different excuses every year instead of clearing its dues. Party senior leader M. Krishnamurthy urged the government to take stern action against the mangement for ignoring the genuine demands of farmers.

Vizianagaram Joint Collector K. Venkataramana Reddy assured adoption of rules and regulations of Revenue Recovery Act-1890 to sell 75 acres of identified land to clear old payments of sugarcane farmers.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 4:18:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/ncs-sugars-begins-crushing-after-being-persuaded-by-govt/article30062266.ece

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