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Cane dues: Karnataka CM to meet sugar factory owners

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah would hold discussions with sugar factory owners here on January 3 on the issue of payment of dues to cane growers, Sugar Minister Mahadesva Prasad said today.

Prasad, who held inconclusive meeting with factory owners yesterday, said most of them have sought relaxation of the December 31 deadline for paying the first installment of dues. They also wanted financial help from the government in the form of interest-free loans to clear dues, he added.

The government, during the winter legislature session in Belagavi, had stated that the first installment of dues by sugar factories would be paid by December 31 and the second one between March and June next year. To a query, Prasad said 16 factories are yet to pay even the fair and remunerative price of Rs 2,100 a tonne.

The government had come under intense pressure to increase the State Advised Price (SAP) after a protesting sugarcane farmer committed suicide in front of the state secretariat during last winter session at Belagavi.

Sugarcane growers, who had rejected the price of Rs 2,500 a tonne fixed by the government, had staged protests, demanding that it be raised to Rs 3,500 per tonne. The issue created a storm at the winter session when the BJP MLAs demanded adjournment motion to discuss problems faced by farmers, including sugarcane price issue.

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