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Rajasthan farmers step up demand to restart closed sugar mill

Ahead of the arrival of chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s Gaurav Yatra in Bundi district tomorrow (September 17), farmers of Keshoraipatan town in the district have stepped up their demand to restart the cooperative sugar mill

jaipur Updated: Sep 16, 2018 05:43 IST
Aabshar Quazi
Aabshar Quazi
Hindustan Times, Kota
Rajasthan farmers,closed sugar mill,sugar mill
The cooperative sugar mill located in Keshoraipatan was closed due to financial losses in 2004.(HT Photo)

Ahead of the arrival of chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s Gaurav Yatra in Bundi district tomorrow (September 17), farmers of Keshoraipatan town in the district have stepped up their demand to restart the cooperative sugar mill.

The cooperative sugar mill of Keshoraipatan is lying defunct since 2004. The unit, which started in 1970, was closed due to financial losses in 2004.

The Hadauti Kisan Union (HKU) and the shareholders committee of the cooperative sugar mill comprising sugarcane farmers have submitted a memorandum to the district collector, cooperative minister and chief minister’s office and sought approval for the mill’s restart.

“There are around 400 villages in Keshoraipatan and nearby areas where sugarcane cultivation would be done prior to 2004. So, if government provides approval for restart of the sugar mill, farmers can do profitable cultivation of sugarcane,” said Dashrath Kumar, the general secretary of the HKU.

“We do not want financial assistance from the government for restarting the sugar mill, as there are no liabilities of financial institutions on the sugar mill and also, there are around ~18 crores in the account of the sugar mill, which can be used by farmers for running the mill,” said Badrilal Meena, the president of the cooperative sugar mill shareholders committee.

Meena said the sugar mill had a crushing capacity of 1,250 metric tonnes per day at the time of its closure and it still has the required infrastructure to run the mill. “Now, CM Vasundhara Raje is coming to Bundi during her Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra. So, the farmers want her approval for restarting the mill,” he added. “Government had sold around 75 hectares of agricultural land of the sugar mill in 2011 to repay the liabilities of the financial institutions and presently there are no financial liabilities on sugar mill,” said Arvind Bhutiya, the secretary of the cooperative sugar mill shareholders committee. “Further, there are around 25.7 hectares of agricultural land available with the closed sugar mill,” he added.

He said that five assembly constituencies of the Hadauti region including two in the Kota district are affected by the closure of the sugar mill, as it would provide benefit to around 50,000 farmer families and generate work for around 5000 agricultural labourers.

He said there are around 4,300 shareholders in the cooperative sugar mill shareholders committee. The sugar mill can also produce power using the bio-waste of the sugarcane, he added.

Kumar, the HKU general secretary, said that reopening of the closed sugar mill is the biggest issue for farmers in the Keshoraipatan assembly constituency.

First Published: Sep 16, 2018 05:43 IST