KANCHANPUR, Feb 1: Sugarcane farmers have been compelled to sell sugarcane at the price set by the sugar mills instead of the floor price set by the government at Rs 536.56 per quintal, which includes the government subsidy of Rs 65.28 per quintal.
Purnavas and Belauri, the south-eastern area of Kanchanpur, have two sugar mills and both of the sugar mills have started buying sugarcane at lower price from the farmers than the price determined by the government.
Bhageshwor Sugar and Chemical Industries Private Limited of Purnavas and Mahakali Sugar Mill of Belauri have formed a committee to determine the price of sugarcane. Farmers in Kanchanpur have no choice but to sell sugarcane at the price determined by the sugar mills.
However, operators of Bhageshwor Sugar Mill and Mahakali Sugar Mill claim that they are buying sugarcane at the price determined by the government. But farmers complain that they have yet to receive the price set by the government. According to Ram Swaroop Rana, a local farmer of Purnavas, farmers have become upset as sugar mills have not purchased sugarcane at the floor price set by the government. “We are selling sugarcane at the price determined by the sugar mills,” said Rana.
“I have received the amount in my bank account according to the rate of Rs 485 per quintal on selling general sugarcane,” said Rajendra Rana, a local farmer. He had sold 71 quintal and 41 kilograms of sugarcane to the sugar mill. The mill has deposited Rs 29,635 in his bank account. According to Rana, it is difficult to reach out to concerned agencies to pressure the sugar mills to buy the sugarcane at the price determined by the government.
“In the past, we formed a committee to determine the price of sugarcane by ourselves, but now we have started purchasing sugarcane at the price set by the government,” said Ranjit Gupta, general manager of the Mahakali Sugar Mill. According to Dammar Bahadur Khadka, the administrative officer of Bhageshwor Sugar Mill, the mill will purchase the sugarcane at the price determined by the government soon.
According to farmers, middlemen are making profits by purchasing chits from farmers at lower prices. “I did not receive the chit on time from the sugar mill, instead the middleman gave me the chit and I sold my sugarcane to him,” said a farmer, who did not want to disclose his name.
Farmers have complained that sugar mills do not provide chits on time and they are compelled to sell sugarcane to the middlemen because they have pending loans to clear.