Bidar, which used to be the fourth largest sugarcane-growing district in the State, is all set to lose the tag, as the district’s farmers, hit by the long dry spell and unstable prices offered by sugar factories, seem to have reduced cane cultivation.Officials say this year’s harvest is just around 10 lakh tonnes, down from the average of 25 lakh tonnes over the past decade. This has hit sugar factories and the backyard jaggery-making units. Bidar has five sugar factories — three in the cooperative sector and two private units. Sugarcane is also bought by around 10 Khand Saris or mini factories that make diamond sugar and molasses.
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha will organise dharnas in front of the residences of all MLAs in Bidar district on November 2, seeking a special package for flood-affected farmers.
The Bidar Sahakari Sakkare Karakhane, the oldest sugar producing cooperative in the district, may not crush sugarcane this year. Bad debts and ineffective management have driven the factory to this stage, allege farmers.The other reasons they attribute include fall in total output of sugarcane, the resultant high prices, lack of funds to clean and maintain machinery, settle dues of farmers and pay labourers.The factory in Hallikhed-Bujurg village, 30 km from the district headquarters, was started in 1961-62, by collecting share capital from farmers. Successive governments have provided working capital assistance before every crushing season. But the demand for converting these government funds into state equity has not been met by the state government.
Sugar factories in Bidar district are staring at a severe shortage of sugarcane, following three years of drought and scarce rainfall this kharif season.The district has three cooperative factories, two private factories and around 10 ‘khand saris’ or mini-factories that together crush around 25 lakh tonnes of sugarcane every year. But this year, they are faced with the challenge of readjusting their schedules for crushing half or one-thirds of that quantum.
Members of the district unit of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha marched to the Deputy Commissioner’s office and staged a protest against the district administration and elected representatives of the district for their failure to get a positive response to their genuine demands here on Monday.