CM asks sugar mills to pay Rs 160 per tone of sugar cane to farmers

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Bangalore, Jul 14 (UNI) Karnataka CM B S Yeddyurappa today urged the sugar mills in Karantaka to pay Rs 160 per tonne of sugarcane supplied by the farmers during 2007-08 as per the agreement reached between Government, representatives of Sugar mills and farmers association.

Addressing in a meeting attended by representatives of farmers, Sugar Mills and officials here he said as per the agreement arrived at during the meeting convened by Karnataka Governor earlier over the payment of the sum over and above the Minimum Support Price (MSP) fixed by the Union Government earlier.

"The Mills made the commitment to the farmers and it should be honoured without any delay," the chief minister said and added that the Government was ready to look into the grievances of the Sugar Mills.

He said the farmers were in distress and it would be improper on the part of the sugar mills to turn their back to the agreement.

Expressing concern that the monsoon which began on a good note in June but dissapointed thereafter may turn worse if rains did not revive during the next two weeks.

"Water levels in the reservoirs has so far been dissapointing and state may have to face a grim situation in days to come if rains do not revive," he said.

On the contrary officials and owners of the sugar mills who were present during the meeting expressed 'helplessness' and sid due to financial constraints they were not in a position to honour the 'suggestion' made at the meeting.

The Private Sugar Mills owners Association stated that total financial implications on the Sugar factories to pay farmers the extra sum would amount to Rs 432 crore. Both private and Co-operative sector mills were in the red and were not in a position to 'shoulder' additional burden. They urged the Government to come forward to pay the amount through budgetary support.

Jagadish Gudagundi, Chairman, South India Sugar Mills Association said, "We can pay Rs 60 to the farmers and the remaining amount of Rs 100 as promised during Governor's rule must be paid by the State Government".

However the the representatives of the Sugar Mills run by Co-operative Institutions have sought a soft loan from the state government to pay farmers.

"Unless the state government agrees for this, it would be difficult to pay the additional amount to farmers" said Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli, Chairman, Bidar Co-Operative Sugar factory.

UNI MV RS SKB1854

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