Ganjam sugarcane growers “not getting dues”

Berhampur: Discontentment seems to be brewing among sugarcane growers in Ganjam district of Odisha as they are yet to get their dues from Aska Cooperative Sugar Industries Limited (ACSIL) with the arrear running into Rs 16.50 crore.

"The farmers have not got their dues since January 15. They are now facing difficultes," said General Secretary, Ganjam District Sugarcane Grower's Association (GDSGA) Samir Pradhan.

He urged the factory authorities to immediately pay the dues before the farmers hit the streets. The farmers supplied sugarcane to the factory at the rate of Rs 2,210 per metric tonne (MT) this year. Around 1,35 lakh MT of sugarcane have already been crushed. The factory has targeted to crush around 2,50 lakh MT this year.

Managing Director of ACSIL, Trilochan Majhi said they have sought a Rs 40-crore loan from the state-owned Odisha State Cooperative Bank (OSCB). The arrear of the farmers would be paid on priority basis after the loan is sanctioned by the cooperative bank, he said.

Meanwhile, Secretary, cooperative department, Bishnupada Sethi and Managing Director, OSCB, T K Panda visited the factory and discussed the matter with its officials.

"We hope the bank will sanction the loan amount soon," said Majhi.

The factory had availed of Rs 20-crore loan from the OSCB last year to meet the payment of sugarcane farmers. It has already repaid the loan to the bank. The factory would also get around Rs 29 crore revenue from sale of its sugar stock of 93,000 quintals.

The factory incurred about Rs 11 crore loss last year as one of its molasses tanks burst, claiming three lives, sources said it was, however, making operational profits in previous years.