Discontent among Ganjam sugarcane growers

Berhampur: Discontent seems to be brewing among sugarcane growers in Ganjam district as several of them are yet to get their dues from Aska Cooperative Sugar Industries Ltd (ACSIL) for sugarcane supplied for processing.

"The sugar industry stopped its operation on April 26 after the processing of around 1.88 lakh metric tones of sugarcane, a record quantity in last 24 years. Several farmers who supplied sugarcane are, however, yet to get their dues. We want the factory authorities to pay interest to the farmers on their dues," said Samir Pradhan, general secretary, Ganjam district sugarcane growers` association,

The sugarcane growers would not be able to go for new crops if the factory authorities make further delay in their payments. The sugarcane growers will be forced to agitate demanding the payment of their dues, Pradhan warned.

ACSIL sources said the factory paid around Rs 29.38 crore to the farmers towards the sugarcanes of 1.30 lakh tonnes processed up to March 15. The payment of around Rs 12 crore is in due towards 58,000 tonne sugarcane.

"We will clear all dues of farmers after the factory gets around Rs 10 crore from the state-owned Odisha State Beverage Corporation Limited (OSBCL) towards the supply of liquor to the corporation," said an officer of the factory.

The factory authorities have written letters for early clearance of the dues as it needs funds for payment to different suppliers of spirit, bottles, caps and labels besides sugarcane farmers, said its secretary S K Panda.

Moreover, the factory has sought around Rs 20-crore bank loan to overcome the present financial crisis, he said. "The process is on and we hope to get the bank loan as well as dues from OSBCL very soon," he said adding the factory would also fetch revenue from sale of its stocked sugar.