Govt sanctions Rs 5.23 cr as support price for sugarcane farmers

Panjim: In a major relief to several sugarcane farmers, who were on indefinite hunger strike, on Thursday, the State government gave its nod to sanction the release of funds to the tune of Rs 5.23 crore as support price for sugarcane under Shetkari Aadhar Nidhi.

Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant chaired a high-level meeting, during which approval was granted for release of Rs 1,800 per tonne for their produce, which will be credited into the farmers accounts in next one-two days; while the balance Rs 600 per tonne towards harvest, will be provided before upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi.

The meeting, attended by Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Agriculture Chandrakant Kavlekar, Cooperation Minister Govind Gaude and farmers, was called after sugarcane growers went on indefinite strike.

Sugarcane growers had started an indefinite hunger strike on Wednesday in front of the Sanjivani Sugar Factory , but later withdrew the agitation following assurance from Kavlekar to call for a meeting to resolve their pending dues.

“The meeting was fruitful. The compensation under Shetkari Aadhar Nidhi has been processed for release,” Sawant tweeted after the meeting.

Earlier, speaking to the media persons post meeting, Kavlekar said that the government will release Rs 5.23 crore as support price for sugarcane farmers, who will receive Rs 1,800 per tonne for their produce by Saturday.

“Chief Minister has given sanction for release of the amount. The same would be disbursed in the accounts of the farmers,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

Kavlekar said that the farmers had also sought harvesting price of Rs 600 per tonne, which will be deposited before Ganesh Chaturthi.

Later, Gaude urged 86 farmers, whose crops are yet to be harvested, not to panic, as their amount which is around Rs 80 lakh, will be disbursed before Ganesh Chaturthi.

“I request farmers not to protest as the government is sensitive towards their demands and ready to provide all support,” he said.

Responding to a question with regards to re-opening of the sugarcane factory, the Minister said that the decision will be taken subsequently.

There are 800 sugarcane growers in Sanguem and Quepem Taluka of South Goa. Goa produces around 30,000 metric tonnes of sugarcane annually, which was processed at the State-run Sanjivani Sugar Factory till 2018, after which the facility was shut for maintenance and the produce was sent to neighbouring Karnataka for processing.

The protesting farmers had claimed that about 28,000 metric tonnes of sugarcane has been supplied by them of which only 30 per cent of the amount has been paid.

“We are happy with the government’s decision and assure to provide full cooperation in future,” the farmers said after attending the meeting. [H]