President of the Karnataka State Sugarcane Growers’ Association Kurubur Shanthakumar said here on Friday that sugar factories across the State owed over Rs. 800 crore in arrears to growers.
He alleged that factories, particularly those in north Karnataka, had paid less that Rs. 2,100 for a tonne of sugarcane but had taken declaration from farmers saying that they had paid Rs. 2,350 for a tonne.
Mr. Shanthakumar said sugarcane growers were forced to take loans from moneylender every year because factories fail to settle their dues in time.
He urged the State government to initiate steps to ensure that all sugar factories settle bills of growers in time so as to prevent them from borrowing money for cultivation next year.
He demanded that the government slap a fine of Rs. 25 lakh on each sugar factory that had obtained “false” declaration from growers and failed to clear their dues.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had said a delegation would be taken to the Prime Minister to seek relief for sugarcane grower, he said, and demanded that the delegation should include growers and representatives of sugar factories so that all prevailing problems could be discussed and solutions arrived at.
Mr. Shanthakumar asked all political parties not to take advantage from the suicide of a sugarcane grower in Belgaum. He said no political party had fought for the cause of sugarcane growers.
The association had appealed to all growers to contribute Re. 1 per tonne of sugarcane crushed this season towards compensation to the family of the deceased farmer.
He said over 2.65 lakh tonnes of sugarcane was expected to be crushed in the State this season.
Poojar Anjanappa, Devaraju, Karibasappa, Parusharam, Narayan and Takuru were among the farmers’ leaders present.