Reported by Santosh Jagdev/Edited by Sandeep Sahu
Bhubaneswar, Aug 27:
Hundreds of sugarcane cultivators registered with Badamba Sugar Mill, presently known as Laxmipati Balaji and Distilleries Private Limited, situated on the outskirts of Athgarh town on Tuesday urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to intervene to restore normalcy in the plant premises so as to ensure their livelihood
Taking out a rally from Ram Mandir square to Lower PMG square, the farmers coming from Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada and Jajpur districts alleged that neither management representatives nor employees have been allowed to enter the plant complex for the last few days as some anti-social people have laid siege to the unit. These people with hidden motives were creating disturbances at the complex, thereby halting operations at the plant and affecting their livelihood.
“When other sugar mills were purchasing cane from us at a minimum price of Rs 800 per ton, Balaji enhanced it to Rs 1400 per ton. Furthermore, due to the farmer friendly attitude of Balaji, sugar cane price jumped from Rs 800 to Rs 2200 per ton within a small span of four years. The situation needs urgent Government intervention for the sake of at least 10,000 poor farmers of these four districts,” said Sugarcane Growers Sangha convenor Chitta Ranjan Sasmal.
It is to be noted that in 2005, the Badamba Sugar Mill was handed over to Laxmipathi Balaji Sugar and Distilleries Pvt Ltd. through a sale and purchase agreement, but the plant could not run due to some unavoidable circumstances. Again in the year 2008, the mill was made functional and cane crushing started to meet the requirement of the cultivators.