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Monday, November 28, 2022

Vijai Sardesai for the rescue of sugarcane farmers

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Panaji: Goa government has decided to intervene in the matter related to the sugarcane farmers, working out better harvesting and support price to the growers.

A high level meeting of the officials from Sanjivani Sugar Factory, Sanguem Assembly Constituency MLA Prasad Gaonkar and leaders of farmers was held in Panaji this morning which was chaired by State Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai.

The meeting discussed the issues faced by the farmers, due to which, they have been turning away from cultivating Sugarcane in the South Goa’s Sanguem, Quepem and Canacona talukas.

Emerging from the meeting, Sardesai announced that his department will be having “limited intervention” in the matter to solve the woes of the farmers.

“The subject is under Department of Cooperative Societies, which is headed by the Chief Minister. I will also discuss the issues with the CM,” he said.

The leaders of the farmers stated that the factory, located at Dharbandora in South Goa, was supposed to start for the current season during early this month, but it is yet to start functioning, forcing the farmers into more problems.

“ Sanjivani Sugar Factory is in ICU (Intensive Care Unit), we want to get it out of it,” Sardesai said.

He said that the factory requires a share capital of Rs 10 crore for smoothening its functioning.

Speaking about the demands of farmers, Sardesai said that the farmers’ demand is that Rs 600 per tonne harvesting charges should be paid to them from the current rate of Rs 200 per tonne.

“Except for the support price given by the agriculture department, we have no role to play in it. It is entirely with Minister of Cooperative Societies, which is the Chief Minister,” he said.

“Sanguem MLA Prasad Gaonkar had approached me. I will be going to do limited intervention in the matter by slightly increasing the harvesting price, and also slightly increasing the minimum support price,” the minister said.

“But we have to consider what are the national precedence. I have told the department to submit report by this evening,” he added.

Sardesai said that government will work to ensure that the Sugar Factory should start by end of the month.

“They have pointed out that the land which is under sugarcane cultivation is not having proper irrigation facilities,” he said.

“A tender of Water Resources Department will be issued very shortly, I am following the matter with the Chief Minister. We will take some extra efforts that Sanjivani Sugar Factory is gets Sanjivani (lease of life),” he added.

Sanguem MLA Prasad Gaonkar said that in Sanguem taluka itself, total 35,000 tonnes of sugarcane is harvested and sent to the factory annually.

“We are the biggest source of sugarcane provider for the factory. But the farmers are in penury as the harvesting price provided by the government needs to be increased,” the MLA said.

“We want to bring in more area under sugarcane cultivation but that is not happening as the irrigation facilities are very poor,” he added.

“The farmers are not able even to change their crop patter as the soil does not support any other production,” he added.

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