BENGALURU: Sugar and Textiles Minister Shankar Patil Munenakoppa on Saturday assured farmers that he will hold a meeting with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai soon to decide on increasing the Fair Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane for the 2022-23 season.
“Farmers are demanding an FRP of Rs 5,500 per tonne of cane. This is to ensure that harvesting and transportation should not become a burden on them. We will give them sweet news soon,” he told reporters after a marathon meeting with Raitha Sangha members.
On complaints of sugar mills exploiting farmers over harvesting and transportation charges and weighing of cane among others, Munenakoppa said he is likely to hold a meeting with the Sugarcane Control Board members on Wednesday to address these issues.
He claimed that both cooperative and private sugar factories have cleared 99.9 per cent of dues to farmers and only Rs 11 crore out of Rs 19,634 crore is pending. Raitha Sangha leader Kuruburu Shanthakumar said they have set a deadline of October 20 for the government to resolve their issues. “Or else, we will give sour news to the government by relaunching our struggle,” he added.
About 150 Raitha Sangha and farmer leaders, including Sunanda Jayaram and Sunitha Puttannaiah from Mandya and South Indian Sugar Mills Association president Sushma took part in the meeting.
Chaos in meeting
A verbal duel broke out during the meeting when some Raitha Sangha leaders objected to the presence of Kodihalli Chandrashekar, leader of another farmer faction, as he was allegedly involved in a scam.
Later, commotion ensued when farmers took strong exception to South Indian Sugar Mills Association (SISMA) president Jagadish Gudagunti’s observations that it would be impossible to buy cane at at Rs 3,500 per tonne and sought a government subsidy to buy the machinery. Farmer Nanjundaswamy from Mysuru tried to throw a water bottle at Gudagunti but other leaders thwarted his attempt.
Farmers surround minister
Some farmers surrounded the minister soon after the meeting with their leaders squatting at the minister’s feet. They alleged that the EID Parry factory at Haliyal cheated them in the payment of harvesting and transportation charges. “There was a report and the issue will be fixed by tomorrow (Sunday) morning. However big the owner is, action will be taken if they violate the rules of the government,” the minister promised.