Planters in Karnataka still waiting for CCD to clear their dues

Hundreds of coffee planters who had financial transactions with the Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) Group, founded by the late V.G. Siddhartha, are worried about the delay in getting their dues cleared by the company. Many planters, in Hassan, Chikkamagaluru and Kodagu districts had deposited their savings in different firms of the group with the expectation of good returns, besides selling coffee beans to the trading firm.

Siddhartha was found dead in July last year, and since then the company has been facing many financial challenges. Recently, a furniture-making unit — DAFFCO — based in Chikkamagaluru was shut down. Similarly, the trading of coffee has been stopped. A coffee curing unit in Hassan was also closed.

Amid all this, recent reports of the group’s deal to sell its Global Village Tech Park in Bengaluru to the U.S.-based Blackstone have sparked a hope for better days in the planters’ community.

According to a company official, the total dues to coffee growers is around ₹80 crore. Besides this, there is another ₹70 crore to ₹80 crore in the form of fixed deposits. In the first week of January, the company began the process to clearing dues. “The planters whose dues were less than ₹2.5 lakh got paid in one go. However, those expecting bigger amounts got only partial payment,” the official said. However, the depositors have not got their money back yet.

A planter in Hassan, who did not wish to be named, said many like him had deposited money as they were assured of an annual interest 11.5%, which is higher than the interest offered by any bank. “I know some people deposited the money they got by selling their estates. All these years they got interest, but now they want the deposit amount returned.”

Another planter from Alur taluk said he had sold coffee to the firm last season, but had not received payment for it. “I have no funds for the picking season. We all trusted Siddhartha and left our money with him, believing it would be returned when we needed it,” he said.

It is said that the family members of Siddhartha and CCD officials have communicated to the planters’ community that all their dues would be cleared. However, they have sought time as they need to process deals for the sale of company properties.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 2:08:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/planters-in-karnataka-still-waiting-for-ccd-to-clear-their-dues/article30786407.ece

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