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Farmers relieved of debt burden

Special Correspondent

1,500 ryots to apply for fresh loans

Puducherry: Some 1,500 farmers attached to the New Horizon Sugar Mills at Ariyur have had their debts wiped out. The steps taken by the administration have enabled them to go in for fresh crop loans, a release from office of Agriculture Minister V. Vaitilingam said on Thursday.

When the mill became dysfunctional during 2003-2004 crushing season, the then management had owed Rs. 6.88 crore to sugarcane farmers for three successive crushing seasons from 2001.

The administration authorised the Managing Director of Puducherry Cooperative Sugar Mills to auction the stocks of sugar and molasses as per a Madras High Court directive. The auction conducted by the official resulted in realisation of Rs.9.12 crore as proceeds, and farmers were paid Rs.1.74 crore for supply of cane. The administration also took steps to settle Rs.4.11 crore due to banks from farmers. The release also said the measures taken by the administration had thus benefited 1,500 ryots, who could now go in for fresh crop loans.