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HomeIndustry & UpdatesSugar Mill Forced To Return Amount Deducted Towards Power To Farmers

Sugar Mill Forced To Return Amount Deducted Towards Power To Farmers

Kolhapur: Workers of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana forced a sugar mill in Kolhapur district to deposit the amount — that had been deducted towards power supply dues — back into the bank accounts of farmers.
Jawahar cooperative sugar factory, run by Ichalkaranji MLA Prakash Awade, had deducted more than Rs 6.7 lakh owed 203 farmers for supply of sugar cane. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited has asked the sugar mills to deduct the power supply dues from the sugar cane bills. According to the MSEDCL, over 1.4 lakh farmers in the Kolhapur district alone have power supply dues of over Rs 397 crore. Most of them are sugar cane farmers.
The MSEDCL has started cutting the connections of defaulters, a move that is already being resisted by the farmers. To recover the dues, the MSEDCL has instead asked the mills to recover the money from sugar cane bills. The mills have been assured that they would be incentivized if they succeed in recovering the dues.
After fierce protest by workers of the farmers’ outfit, the sugar mill has rolled back its decision.
Raju Shetti, the president of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, said, “The power supply bills issued by MSEDCL were faulty. We have requested the government to issue the corrected bills, which the farmers will pay. Asking the mills to recover the amount, that too without the consent of the farmers is illegal.”
Responding to the furore, Awade said that a very small amount had been deducted from the sugar cane bills to help avoid the disconnection of power supply to the farmers. He said the mill had taken the decision to benefit the farmers. “We will reconsider our decision. We had no intention to hurt the farmers,” added Awade.
The MSEDCL has promised the mills a 10% reward of the amount they recover from the farmers. So far, the mills could recover loans taken by the farmers from the sugar cane bills, but for that too with the consent of the farmers.

The above news was originally posted on timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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