The farmers supplying the sugar cane as well as the factory that buys their produce face many problems but they believe if the government pays any attention then everything will be easily solved.
Ponda: The farmers supplying sugar cane who agitated recently in front of the factory over the delay in the crushing season and closure notice on pollution grounds are hoping for Achhe Din from the Government especially when it has been promising to double the income of farmers in the country.
The farmers of Sanjeevani face several problems. Though the Sanjeevani crushing season operates for only four months, its current problems are many such as the losing of juice and drying of sugar cane if the crushing season is delayed, the old machinery, unsold sugar of last crushing season amounting to Rs 15 crore, the need to revoke the notice ordered by CPCB, commence the latest crushing season, attend to demands of farmers to a hike in sugar cane supply, water shortages in cultivation etc. The sugar factory has 15 lakh square metres which needs to utilised as most of the land is not used says the farmers. Around 1200 farmers family as well as hundreds of employees of Sanjivanee depend on it for livelihood.
According to Harshad Prabudesai who is vice president of Sugar cane farmers association, wrong policies and a lack of vision has resulted in the factory being in the red. He said the unit was operating on very old machinery. This makes it very difficult to get small parts on time thus affecting the operation of the factory.
Government over the past four years during the crushing season has been promising to install new machinery but they have remained just that. Last year Sanjeevani immediately after starting the crushing season was closed for almost a month due to improper maintenance. The farmers suffered losses as they were forced to pay wages to gangs of labourers brought from Maharashtra for cutting sugar cane. He added that since politicians failed to take the proper step, they were forced to beg for their money from Sanjeevani every year for the Sugar cane supplied.
Prashant Desai from Sheldem said the latest problem was the closure notice issued by the Central Pollution Control Board for not installing a pollution monitoring system. This happened since the government did not provided to the unit from time to time. The installation would cost around RS 65 lakh which was not too much considering the State spend around RS 10 crore for yearly maintenance to operate the factory for crushing season. But the government ignored the warning of CPCB and is now running pillar to post to get a relaxation or to revoke the order. When Herald reporter tried for contact the administrator Damodar Morajkar who has been Delhi for the job, he was not reachable for a comment as to what assurance they had received from the CPCB on the closure notice.
This unit faces losses during past several years amounted to the tune of Rs 2 crore and considering the accumulated losses it would run into several crores. According to farmers this Sugar Factory is not managed to its full capacity. It cannot go into losses if managed to full extent. There can be several by products and revenue can be generated from waste of sugar cane crushed, provided there is good management.
Last year Government provided Rs 5 crore to Sanjeevani Factory , however when the Administrator paid this amount to Contractor in advance for bringing gang of labourers for cutting the sugarcane in Goa, the Contractor did not showed his face nor brought gangs of workers from Maharashtra thus resulting in a loss of Rs 5 crore to Sanjeevani.
The farmers supplying Sugarcane to Sanjeevani are currently require water irrigation for their cultivation. They are currently demanding a hike of Rs 1000 per ton of Sugarcane supply that is from existing Rs 3000 to Rs 400 per ton. They are also demanding hike of Rs 400 for cutting the sugarcane that is from existing Rs 200 to Rs 600 for per ton of sugar cane cutting. These demands are pending before the cooperation department of Government.
This year the farmers who were panic due to delay in crushing season were found themselves in distress due to closure notice of CPCB. However with politicians promising help the farmers are now relaxed and waiting for the commencement of the crushing season on December 5 as promised by the government.