BENGALURU: The government has fixed a price of Rs 2,300-Rs 3,050 per tonne of sugarcane. But sugarcane growers, who are unhappy with this, are threatening to picket Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi during the winter session.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with sugarcane growers on Tuesday, Minister for Cooperation and Sugar H S Mahadev Prasad said that in accordance with National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) guidelines, they fixed the price at a minimum of Rs 2,300. “Considering the low yield of sugarcane, we expect the price to increase. Once the price of sugar increases, we will take steps to ensure that the profits are passed on to farmers,” he said.
The farmers are demanding a minimum of Rs 3,200 per tonne. Prasad said that five factories had agreed to pay the farmers the profits on the byproducts, but farmers were suspicious about this. “I am getting a report from the committee formed of farmers, sugarcane factory owners and experts and will then take a decision,” he said.
Around 39 factories have already started processing sugarcane. Of the remaining 25, work will begin at 21 of them. About 300 lakh tonnes of sugarcane is expected to arrive in factories this year. This is expected to produce around 30.90 lakh tonnes of sugar.
Close on the heels of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah writing to the Centre on the impact of demonetisation, Prasad said he will also be writing to the Centre to make it easier for cooperative banks to disburse loans and allow cooperative banks to operate like commercial banks.
At present, cooperative banks are dependent on commercial banks for their cash requirements. While they require Rs 500 crore for banking transactions, they also require another Rs 600 crore for loan disbursal. However, only Rs 25 crore has been released to them in the last seven days. Cooperative banks have over seven lakh customers, including farmers.