The three cooperative sugar factories in Chittoor and Nellore districts are yet to pay Rs 28.65 crore to the sugar cane growers in the districts who supplied sugar cane to them for the crushing season in 2011-12 that ended in March.
In Chittoor district, there are two sugar factories, the Chittoor Cooperative Sugar Factory at the district headquarters and the SV Cooperative Sugar Factory at Gajulamandyam, near Tirupati.
Nellore district has one cooperative sugar factory at Kovur.
During the crushing season in 2011-12, the Chittoor Cooperative Sugar Factory had crushed 1,57,557 tonnes of sugar cane supplied by 2,202 farmers and the SV Sugar Factory 1,76,514 tonnes of cane supplied by nearly 2,200 farmers.
Both the factories had paid Rs 1,600 per tonne, the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government and provided free transport.
The MSP paid was far less than that paid in the previous crushing season (2010-11) when farmers were paid Rs 2,100 per tonne and the demand for the 2011-12 crushing season was Rs 2,500 per tonne.
Speaking to Express, district additional joint collector and managing director of the Chittoor Cooperative Sugar Factory Venkatasubba Reddy said they paid the farmers the rate fixed by the state government and provided free transport.
But the factory did not pay anything to farmers who had supplied sugar cane between February 15 and March 24 and the dues total Rs 5.58 crore, considering the MSP of Rs 1,700 per tonne.
With sugar cane growers demanding better MSP and staging protests, the government had relented and fixed the MSP at Rs 2,000 per tonne and a GO was released on January 5 this year directing the cooperative factory managements to pay as per the new MSP.
If the new MSP is taken into calculation, the Chittoor factory has to pay Rs 10.30 crore, including the differential amount, to those farmers who had been already paid as per the old MSP.
On the other hand, the SV Cooperative Sugar Factory owes Rs 7 crore to farmers for the 2011-12 crushing season as the differential amount.
In-charge managing director of the factory E Ramakrishna said that they had paid to all farmers as per old MSP fixed by the Union ministry of agriculture and now they had to pay the difference amount of Rs 7 crore.
The cooperative factory at Kovur in Nellore district owes Rs 11.73 crore to farmers.
“I had supplied 200 tonnes of sugar cane to the Kovur sugar factory at the fixed MSP but was paid only Rs 1 lakh.
An amount of Rs 4.2 lakh is due to me from the factory,’’ said P Dayakara Reddy of Kovur.
When contacted, Kovur Co-operative Sugar Factory managing director G.Sudhakar Reddy said he had sent the proposals to the commissioner of sugar canes three months ago for clearing the dues amounting to Rs 11.
35 crore to the 1,200-odd farmers.
“We are awaiting orders from the government,” he said.
But cane-growers are increasingly becoming restless as dues have not been cleared even six months after the crushing season had ended.
They are also not happy with the MSP fixed and want more.
Farmers’ association leader T Adikesavulu Reddy has criticised the government for fixing a low MSP.
While the input costs and labour charges have increased by up to 400 percent, the government has, instead of increasing the MSP proportionately, lowered it.
The government would have to face serious consequences if it ignored their genuine demands, he warned.