Sugarcane farmers are not pleased with the recent ultimatum given to sugar factory owners to pay dues to farmers.
Bengaluru: Karnataka Government has given an ultimatum of 15 days to sugar mill owners who owe farmers around 1500 crores rupees. However, sugarcane farmers are unhappy. Kurubur Shanta Kumar, State President, Karnataka Sugarcane Growers’ Association, said, “The government has never taken this seriously; it is of no use for sugarcane farmers. The Central government has a rule of 1966 that we have to be paid within 14 days. Or you have to pay 15 percent more. No sugarcane factory has madepayment to the farmers yet. We farmers have to take loans, we have to pay extra interest. Sugar factories are not paying that extra money.”
Sugar mill owners said that cost of production is very high compared to the demand for sugar. Due to this, farmers have not been paid dues on time.A mill owner said, “As per statutory data, we have to clear within 15 days after getting the supply from farmers.”
There are over 25 lakh sugarcane farmers in Karnataka. Last year, sugarcane farmers accounted for seven percent of total farmer suicides rate.The department has collected data from 72 factories from all over Karnataka. The pending payments had reached Rs 2,400 crore on April 15. But, in the last 15 days of April, Rs 954 crores was paid after the sugar commissioner issued notices to clear the pending dues.
Shankar Patil Munenakoppa, Textile and Sugarcane Minister, said, “Before the last day of this month, the seven percent should be paid.The information has been given to the farmers and they have accepted it.”
Earlier, sugarcane farmers had also urged the government to introduce a digital payment system.The government is also in the process of formulating an ethanol production policy.