Sugarcane growers, Karnataka CM meet but no sweet outcome

Bengaluru: The nearly seven-hour marathon meeting between the defaulting sugar mills and sugarcane farmers agitating for their dues, convened  by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy here on Tuesday, failed to break the impasse between the two.

Although Mr Kumaraswamy managed to convince the farmers to give up their  indefinite protest, he had no luck with the mill owners, who did not appear in person, but sent  their representatives to the meeting.

The Chief Minister has now decided to meet the factory owners, most of whom, are prominent members of different political parties, on November 22 to sort out the issue before the government brings in a  legislation in the winter session of the legislature to regulate the sugar mills by amending the existing law to remove the loopholes and  punish those defaulting on payment. 

"I have asked the mills' representatives to make sure that the owners are present at the meeting on Thursday.  I am confident  I will be able to convince them to clear their  dues,'' Mr  Kumaraswamy told reporters after the meeting.

 Describing the marathon meeting with farmers and representatives of sugar mills as "quite fruitful," Mr  Kumaraswamy said,  "We have agreed to fulfill a majority of their demands in phases and ensure that justice is done to  farmers. They have, in turn, decided to call off their agitation reposing faith in me." 

The real problem, according to him, was that the mill owners, who had agreed to pay a  the farmers a higher price, above the FRP (Fair and remunerative price) fixed by the state government, had gone back on their word  after the price of sugar fell in the market. 

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