Berhampur, June 17 (LocalWire): Sugarcane growers in Ganjam district have rejected the offer of a phase-wise payment option by the Aska Cooperative Sugar Industries Limited (ACSIL) and have demanded the immediate release of their full due amount.
The factory authorities had offered 70 percent of the amounts in the first phase due to financial crunch.
“Never in the history of the ACSIL did the management ever offer to settle the farmers’ dues in phases.
Sugarcane growers can’t raise their next crop with this amount after repaying their bank loans which are at a higher interest.
We have demanded the factory authorities to clear the full dues,” said Ganjam Zilla Akhuchasi Sangh general secretary Sameer Pradhan.
He said as per the agreement with the ACSIL will have to pay interest if they failed to pay the cost of procured sugarcane within a month.
“We have supplied the sugarcane since last February and after waiting for around four months, they agreed to pay only 70 percent of the dues,” he said.
The ACSIL has to pay Rs 24 crore to over 4,000 farmers.
Several sugarcane growers submitted a memorandum to the ACSIL managing director LN Behera who informed that the Cooperative had decided to pay 70 percent of the dues as the government gave a guarantee of only Rs 15-crore of its loan amount, which incurred from the state-owned Aska Cooperative Central Bank (ACCB) by the ACSIL.
The guarantee was provided by the government according to the sugar stock in the factory that was worth around Rs 18-crore.
Behera, however, said they were trying to arrange for another Rs 9-crore to clear the dues of the farmers soon.
“We have already disbursed Rs 7-crore to the farmers and in the next phase Rs 8-crore would be disbursed,” he said.
According to sources, the payment was delayed since the government bank guarantee came late due to the model code of conduct in the state.
The sugar industry stopped its operation in the last week of April after processing over 84,770 metric tons of sugarcane, around 11,000 mt higher than last year.
The factory started its crushing operation from February 5 and produced over 67,500 quintals of sugar, sources said.