Bangalore: BJP MLAs today staged a dharna in the Assembly demanding action against sugar mill owners for not paying the State Advisory Price of Rs 2,500 per tonne with an additional incentive of Rs 150 to sugarcane farmers.
Raising the issue, Opposition BJP leader Jagadish Shettar criticised the government for not taking action against mill owners even six months after the advisory price was announced in the winter session of legislature at Belgaum in November.
Shettar said the government has served notices to 60 mill owners, but hasn`t done anything other than that. "I think the government has colluded with the owners. They have to give Rs 3,500 crore to cane growers, which they haven`t done so far."
The government had come under intense pressure to increase the State Advised Price (SAP) after a protesting sugarcane farmer committed suicide in front of the state secretariat during the winter session at Belgaum.
Sugarcane growers, who had rejected the price of Rs 2,500 a tonne fixed by the government, had staged protests, demanding that it be raised to Rs 3,500 per tonne.
The government is neglecting farmers` problems even as they are on the streets, Shettar said.
JDS Floor Leader H D Kumaraswamy said Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has failed to fulfil his promise to take action against mill owners, who did not comply with the deadline set by him.
In his reply, Cooperation Minister H S Mahadev Prasad said the government has served notices to 60 mill owners and of which 42 have agreed to pay the fixed price.
"Remaining 18 mill owners have obtained a stay from the Karnataka High Court on the grounds that the price fixed by the government was too high," the minister said.
"The stay is on till July 30, and we will try to get it vacated," he added.
Following the stay, the Karnataka Sugarcane Control Board issued another notice to sugar factories, directing them to pay Rs 2,100 a tonne as per the fair remunerative price (FRP) fixed under the Union government`s Sugar Control order.
Not satisfied with the reply, Shettar and other BJP members trooped into the well of the house and staged a dharna, following which the Speaker Kagodu Thimappa adjourned the day`s proceedings for tomorrow.
Earlier, Siddaramaiah refuted the opposition charge that his government has colluded with sugar mill owners.