Maha farmers crack deal, call off agitation

Written by Nanda Kasabe | Pune | Updated: Nov 30 2013, 05:39am hrs
Sugarcane farmers in Maharashtra have called off their agitation. The farmers agreed to an advance of Rs 2,650 a tonne declared by independent MP from Kolhapur Sadashiv Rao Mandalik.

Another sugar mill located in Bidri in Kolhapur has declared a purchase price of Rs 2,700 a tonne. Crushing operations are expected to begin from Friday in the state.

The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) had given a 48-hour ultimatum to the state government for a resolution.

The agitation by cane farmers had taken a violent turn in Maharashtra with buses being attacked and traffic on the Mumbai-Bangalore highway stalled for hours in the last two days. A meeting was held by the executive committee of SSS in Kolhapur on Friday to come up with a solution to break the deadlock. After the meeting, Shetty declared that the agitation has been called off.

Kolhapur MP and SSS president Raju Shetty said that agitation has been called off in the larger interests of the farmers and would be postponed for a month. Sadabhau Khot, state unit president, SSS, said crushing had already been delayed and if the cane was left standing in the fields, it would affect recovery levels and the weight of the cane would also be reduced. We are ready to accept a purchase price of Rs 2,650 a tonne and the remaining amount can be given by factories till January, he said. SSS had been agitating for a cane purchase price of Rs 3,000 a tonne. The agitation this year has largely been confined to western Maharashtra and the impact was felt in Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur that have around 45 mills. Shetty's agitation was centred around Karad, home town of chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.

As of date, around 102 sugar mills have started crushing in Maharashtra. After crushing 51 lakh tonnes, around 4.31 lakh tonnes of sugar has been produced in the current season as compared to 10.24 lakh tonnes produced last year up to end of November.