The All Sugarcane farmers Association affiliated to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) threatened to organise a massive agitation by mobilising farmers if the administration failed to disburse the cane price for the cane supplied to the Lingareddippalayam Co-operative Sugar Mills during the cropping season 2012-13 and also the bank dues in a week’s time.
Secretary of the association S S Senthilkumar in a statement said the administration was yet to release `41 crore towards the price of 1.86 lakh tonnes of sugarcane supplied during 2012-13.
The farmers are not able to cultivate sugar cane by availing of fresh crop loans as the mill management had failed to pay the banks loan dues, by deducting it from their dues.
They were suffering a lot and were not able to pay the labour charges for harvesting and transportation charges, he said
The families of 18,000 cane growers and over 50,000 agricultural labourers were suffering due to this, he added.
Senthilkumar said the cane growers could not obtain a fresh loan from the bank as the management had failed to pay the penal interest of `17 lakh for 2010-11 and `40 lakh for 2011-12.
During a talk between the cane growers and the mill management just before the current year’s crushing season, it was agreed to pay the cane price and also remit the bank dues in a week’s time. But even after four months of cane harvesting nothing materialised, he lamented.
The mill management said that the dues would be paid to the growers after selling the huge sticks of sugar.
“As the price of sugar in the auction market had fallen, we are waiting for the prices to go up after the crushing season,” said managing director of the mill M Rajesekhar. The prices have fallen from `35,000 per metric ton to `29,050 per MT. There is no point in selling it at throw away prices, he said.
Once the stock is cleared, the farmers would be paid their dues, he said. For the last two years, due to financial problems the penal interest has not been paid, he said, and added that the mill management is taking steps to address the problem.