Kurubur Shantakumar, president of Karnataka Sugarcane Growers’ Association, has pressed the State government to take the necessary steps for revival of Mysore Paper Mills (MPM), a public sector undertaking (PSU) in Bhadravati, to protect the interests of sugarcane growers of the region.
MPM was operating on loss for the past few years, and it could be brought back on the path of profit by investing in its modernisation, Mr. Shantakumar said at a press conference here on Sunday. When Mysore Sugar Company Ltd., a PSU in Mandya, was facing a similar crisis, the State government had extended Rs. 270 crore for its revival. The State government should come up with a similar bailout package for MPM too, he said. He said around 2 lakh tonnes of sugarcane was crushed by the sugar factory of MPM each year.
More than 2,500 farmers in the district entered into contract with the firm every year to supply sugarcane. Referring to the order passed by the Central Pollution Control Board last year to stop production at the firm owing to its alleged failure to abide by laws related to environmental pollution, and the recent ongoing indefinite protest by its workers against the management direction to them to go on earned leave for an indefinite period, he said these development had created apprehensions on the future of the firm.
N.H. Deva Kumar, district unit president of the association said that as the returns from cultivation of paddy had declined in the recent times, and the prices of arecanut was fluctuating, the cultivation of sugarcane had proved to be economically viable for farmers in Malnad region.
If production is stopped at the MPM, sugarcane cultivators would find it difficult to shift to other crops. Keeping the interests of the farmers in mind, the government should revive the paper mills, he said.
Association functionaries Puttaswamy Gowda, Sannaiah, Girish, Devaraj were present at the press meet.