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Sugarcane farmers call off morcha

Ponda: The Goa Sugarcane Farmers Association has withdrawn its morcha scheduled on July 21, after assurance by Agricultural Minister Vijai Sardesai assured to hike the rate of sugarcane by Rs 500 per tonne.The sugarcane farmers had decided to launch a huge morcha in front of Goa Assembly on July 21 to express their displeasure against the government for ignoring their long pending demands. These farmers supply sugarcane to the government-run Sanjivani Sugar Factory.According to Rajendra Desai, the president, former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar had assured to fulfil their demands last year. However, he said, as the government was working on their demands, the code of conduct was imposed halting progress on the same.According to Desai, the farmers are currently being paid Rs 2500 per tonne of sugarcane and they had demanded a hike of Rs 900. However, the agricultural minister has promised to hike the rate by Rs 500 to Rs 3000 per tonne.
He said that the agriculture minister also assured to consider their other demands which include clearing of 80 percent of Bill amount of the sugarcane supplied to factory within fifteen days; appointment of administrator for the factory for a full term of five years; free power supply for sugarcane production; and waiver of loans taken by them.Desai said that in Maharashtra and other States, the cost of cutting sugarcane is borne by the factories, while in Goa the farmers are bearing the cost. “We are paying Rs 700 for cutting a tonne of sugarcane. Therefore, in Goa too the sugar factory should share some burden of cutting the sugarcane,” he demanded.He said that there was no shortage of sugarcane as several hectares of land are available for sugarcane cultivation in Goa and vast tracts of land are located near the sugar factory which can provide almost 1.5 lakh tonnes of sugarcane. [H]

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