Cotton farmers end 13-day agitation over non-payment of dues

Cotton farmers from adjoining Wardha district, who were on dharna here for the last 13 days over non-payment of due of Rs 8 crore by a factory owner, today ended their agitation following intervention of Maharashtra government.

PTI| Updated: Mar 12, 2016, 01:27 AM IST
Cotton farmers end 13-day agitation over non-payment of dues

Nagpur: Cotton farmers from adjoining Wardha district, who were on dharna here for the last 13 days over non-payment of due of Rs 8 crore by a factory owner, today ended their agitation following intervention of Maharashtra government.

The farmers from Seloo area of the district claimed they have not been paid the dues of Rs 8 crore by a ginning- pressing factory owner for over a year.

The cotton growers, whose representatives had a meeting with Ministers concerned in Mumbai on March 9, were today visited by Resident Deputy Collector (RDC) of Wardha, Vaibhav Narwadkar.

Narwadkar met the agitating farmer here and conveyed to them the government's decision that it would take steps like auctioning the unit to resolve the payment issue.

About 400 farmers were denied payment by Sunil Talatule, who owns Shrikrishna Ginning and Pressing Factory that bought cotton from them through Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) between November 2014-May 2015.

Talatule, however, failed to make payment.

Subsequently, the farmers approached police which registered a case of alleged cheating and arrested Talatule on July 25, 2015. He was later released on bail.

The cotton growers, fed up by the delay in payment, took out a march to headquarters of RSS demanding that the saffron outfit put pressure on Talatule to pay them.

Claiming that Talatule's father Prabhakar Talatule was one of the founding fathers of the RSS, the cotton growers sought intervention of the organisation into the matter.

The march was foiled on February 28 by police and since then farmers had been staging protest near RBI square.

Narwadkar assured the agitating farmers that the factory will be auctioned in the first week of April and the proceeds will be used to repay their dues, one of the agitators, Narain Pathak,told PTI on Friday.

Pathak, a farmer leader, had also attended the meeting in Mumbai, where the decision to resolve the issue was taken. The Deputy Registrar of Co-operatives, Wardha has initiated the process for auction.

Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, also Guardian Minister of Wardha, his Cabinet colleagues Chandrakant Patil (Cooperation and Marketing) and Chandrashekhar Bawankule (Power) attended the meet on behalf of the government.

Farmers were represented by Pathak and another leader Mohan Sonurkar. Congress MLC Bhai Jagtap, Wardha MLA Pankaj Bhoyar and former MP Suresh Waghmare (both from BJP) also attended the meeting.