Ponda: The crushing season at Sanjeevani Sugar Factory commenced on Thursday with the participation of famers and officials, while the grand official inaugural is scheduled by the government on December 15.
As the season commenced, the farmers prayed for smooth functioning of machinery so that the crop harvested by them is not destroyed due to technical snags, as happened last year.
The Sanjeevani Factory annually crushes around 1,20,000 metric tonne of sugarcane; of which, more than 50 percent is imported from Karnataka, while the rest is supplied by Goan farmers.
An official said, “The factory machinery is made operational today and we will observe its functioning for at least 24 hours. As soon as it starts functioning smoothly, we will place order to Karnataka farmers to supply their sugarcane as the factory machinery needs 1200 metric tonne per day for the smooth functioning of boiler.”
The farmers said that they suffered losses due to delay in starting the crushing season. But despite the delay in starting the crushing season, the farmers said that they had brought workers from Maharashtra and Karnataka for sugarcane cutting. However, the farmers said, they could not engage the workers for harvesting due to delay in starting the crushing season; but had to pay them wages to the tune of Rs 300 to 400 for sitting idle. The farmers also said that they suffered loss due to wild animal damaging their crop.
The All Goa Sugarcane Farmers Association President Rajendra Desai and many other farmers were present for the inaugural function.
On the occasion, Desai thanked Central and State Pollution Board for issuing certificates. He said the official grand function will be held on Saturday, but before that the factory machinery has been made operational from Thursday.
He said that huge heaps of sugarcane lying at the factory premises and they could dry up.
Desai is also worried that since the Anmod-Belgaum road has been closed for widening work from Wednesday, the Karnataka farmers would face difficulties in supplying sugarcane.
“Though there is an alternative route through Chorla and Karwar, those routes are not economically viable for Karnataka farmers,” he said and urged the government to request the Karnataka government to allow only the sugarcane carrying trucks through Anmod-Belgaum road. [H]