BERHAMPUR: Sugarcane growers in Ganjam district had to suffer huge losses due to delay in crushing of sugarcane at Aska Cooperative Sugar Industries Ltd (ACSIL). Despite all odds, sugarcane growers cultivate the crop on 8,000 acres in 16 blocks with a target to produce one lakh tonne of sugarcane.
Union of Sugarcane Growers’ member Samir Pradhan said the crop had been damaged during cyclone Titli. Despite Government assurance, no compensation was given.
The grievances were compounded after crushing at ACSIL was delayed. Usually, ASCIL starts crushing process from December or first week of January every year. However, this year, due to delay in keeping the machineries ready and demand by staffers for provision of necessary facilities and fixing of sugarcane prices, the crushing process started in February. Adding to the woes, the scorching heat led to fall in sucrose content in the sugarcane crops, resulting in huge loss for cane-growers.
“The harvested sugarcane, lying on the field and factory premises, will dry up if not processed immediately. The factory authorities should compensate the farmers for their loss,” said Pradhan.
The problem of transport has affected the crushing badly, said cane-growers, who are waiting near ACSIL to hand over their harvested crop. “Cane-growers were assured to receive their prices within 24 hours of delivery but payment is due even after two months,” Pradhan said, adding that since ASCIL is likely to stop the crushing process, authorities should pay the prices to sugarcane farmers immediately. “Most of the growers opted for crop loans and delay in repayment may burden them with more interest,” he said, urging the authorities to compensate the farmers for the losses suffered during cyclone Titli.
“Steps are being taken to give the farmers their due,” said ACSIL sources.