Karnataka Chief minister H D Kumaraswamy today held a meeting with sugarcane factory owners to discuss the crores in dues that sugarcane farmers in the state are owed.
Among the factory owners were politicians, including current and former ministers who also own sugarcane factories.
The chief minister’s office sent a release after the meeting saying he had stated that since sugar factory owners had made a commitment to pay a certain price above the fair and remunerative price fixed by the Centre, they would have to abide by it.
The farmers claimed that they have already paid extra money. The chief minister said district officials have been directed to get the details and ensure the dues are cleared by the mills within the next 15 days.
After the meeting, Balachandra Jarkiholi of the BJP, a former minister whose brothers are with the Congress, said, “Sugarcane has become such a big issue in north Karnataka – Belagavi and Bagalkote.”
“This should be settled amicably. The factories can survive without the farmers. The farmers can’t survive without the factories. It should not be seen only from the business angle.”
The factory owners have said they will check their financial position and get back to the chief minister.
A six-hour long meeting was convened on Tuesday after hundreds of farmers on Sunday staged protests at Belagavi against the state government’s alleged indifference over ensuring Minimum Support Price for cane.
“The state government will ensure a higher MSP than earlier to cane farmers and make sure they don’t face any issues going ahead,” Mr Kumaraswamy had asserted at the meeting.
The farmers had attacked Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi on Sunday, the legislature building of Karnataka. On Monday, farmers had come to Bengaluru to protest and finally their representatives had met the chief minister on Tuesday.