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Farmers worried that sugarcane crushing may not start on Dec 8

Ponda: The sugarcane farmers, who panicked over delay in starting the crushing season by Sanjeevani Sugar Factory, are still worried that the crushing season may not commence on December 8 as promised by the authorities.

When contacted, the officials said that they are trying to commence the crushing season on December 8, but it might take some more days as the work of maintenance of machinery as well as installing of pollution monitoring system is still progressing.

Meanwhile, the farmers are irked that the file containing their demands for hike in rate of sugarcane and hike in wages of sugarcane cutting workers is still pending at the Cooperative Department which is handled by the chief minister.

The farmers are demanding a hike of Rs 1000 per tonne (that is, from Rs 3000 to Rs 4000) and for sugarcane cutting, they demand a hike of Rs 400 for per tonne of sugarcane (that is from Rs 200 to Rs 600).

Meanwhile, the farmers are worried over the future of the factory as still there is no concrete assurance about it by the Government.

According to the farmers, the Sanjeevani Sugar Factory has around 15 lakh square metres of land which it needs to utilise to the full extent. In Maharashtra 200 sugar factories are running successfully, while in Goa, the only factory is struggling to survive.

The farmers whose livelihoods depend on Sanjeevani factory want the government to take measures to bring the factory in profit. The farmers are also worried that sugar worth over Rs 15 crore lying in godowns might go waste, due to the wrong policies of the government.

The farmers fear that the government might close down the factory due to heavy losses.

Official sources say that the accumulated loss of Sanjeevani Sugar Factory was 89.31 crore during the year 2015-16. During the year 2016-17 it faced a loss of Rs 3.19 crore and during the year 2017-18, its loss was Rs 8.71 crore which includes Rs 5 crore paid to contractor in advance for supply of sugarcane from outside the State but not fulfilled.

Thus, the accumulated loss of the Sanjeevani Sugar Factory is more than Rs 101.21 crore, till today. [H]

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