Chennai: DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin on Wednesday warned that his party would resort to protests if the state government did not heed to the farmers’ demands for increasing sugarcane procurement price to Rs 3,500 per tonne and payment of arrears for sugarcane supplied by them, before Pongal day. Citing Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s announcement to give a procurement price of Rs 2,850 per tonne, Stalin said he had only announced the earlier price.
Recalling the AIADMK election manifesto in 2011 that private sugar mill owners would be made to pay sugarcane price for the farmers immediately after supplying them. But, the farmers had not been paid the sugarcane price immediately as promised, he added. Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam is continuing the same policy of not fulfilling the election promises, the Leader of Opposition said and pointed out that the arrears amount had reached Rs 2,000 crores, which included the pending payment by private sugar mills owners and those run by government cooperative societies.
The tripartite talks among the government, sugar mill owners and farmers unions had not found a solution, he said and added that the DMK had raised the demands of farmers in the Assembly. The future of farmers had been affected due to the rising cost of sugarcane cultivation, depleting ground water, failure of monsoon and natural disasters.
The incentive of Rs 608 per tonne given by the earlier DMK government had not been increased, he said and charged that the AIADMK government is not concerned with farmers’ welfare. Recalling his allegation that an inactive government is functioning in the state, Stalin said Panneerselvam too had confirmed that his government is inactive. TNCC chief S. Thirunavukkarasar too demanded increase in the procurement price of sugar and payment of arrears for farmers.
He said the centre had fixed the price at Rs 2,300 and the state government had added the same amount of Rs 550 to the centre's procurement price. Pointing out that Maharashtra government fixed the sugarcane price as Rs. 3,000 per tonne, besides Rs.1000 per tonne as cutting price. He also alleged that the AIADMK government had not taken steps to make the sugar mills pay the arrears amount for farmers. He also demanded tripartite talks for payment of arrears amount for farmers....