Yeddy asks sugar mills to pay Rs 160 per tonne to farmers

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Bangalore, Jul 14 (UNI) Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today urged the sugar mills in the state to pay Rs 160 per tonne of cane supplied by the farmers during 2007-08 as per the agreement reached between government, representatives of sugar mills and farmers association.

Addressing a meeting attended by representatives of farmers, sugar mills and officials here, he said the mills should pay as per the agreement arrived at during the meeting convened by Governor earlier over and above the Minimum Support Price (MSP) fixed by the Union Government.

''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.

The farmers were in distress and it would be improper on the part of the sugar mills to go back on the accord, he added.

Owners and officials of the sugar mills, expressed 'helplessness' and said due to financial constraints they were not in a position to honour the 'suggestion' made at the meeting.

Private Sugar Mills Owners Association said the total financial implications on the sugar factories to pay farmers the extra sum would amount to Rs 432 crore. Both private and cooperative 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, representatives of the sugar Mills run by cooperative institutions have sought a soft loan from the state government to pay farmers.

''Unless the government agrees for this, it would be difficult to pay the additional amount to farmers,'' said Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli, Chairman, Bidar Cooperative Sugar factory.

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