BANGALORE: Threatening tough measures against sugar factories that have failed to pay a fair remunerative price (FRP) to sugarcane growers, the state government has decided to confiscate the factories’ stocks and sell them to clear growers’ dues.
The issue rocked the Legislative Assembly on the first day of the session on Monday, with the Opposition BJP staging a dharna demanding that the government immediately pay the Rs. 2,500 a tonne it had promised. Leader of the Opposition Jagadish Shettar accused the government of colluding with sugar factory owners, “some of who are Congress leaders and ministers”.
Shettar wanted the government to pay Rs. 2,500 a tonne of sugarcane as promised and then recover the amount from sugar factories later.
Sugar Minister H S Mahadevaprasad replied that sugar factory owners have approached the High Court against the Rs. 2,500 rate fixed by the state. The court has issued a stay order on the rate. However, the HC has stated that it has no objection to the fair remunerative price of Rs. 2,100 a tonne, he added.
Of the 60 sugar factories, 18 haven’t paid dues of Rs. 503 crore even after being served notices, Mahadevaprasad said.
The state government has issued directions to Deputy Commissioners of the districts concerned to confiscate the sugar stocks in these factories and clear the dues of cane growers, the minister said. “We will confiscate the assets of these sugar factories if there are no sugar stocks on their premises.”
However, the reply failed to convince the BJP members. They staged a dharna in the well of the House demanding that the government keep its promise.
Deputy Speaker Shivashankar Reddy, who was in the chair, adjourned the House for the day, amid protests from BJP leaders.