Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

K’taka’s sugar bowl sees 16 deaths in one month


BANGALORE: Sixteen sugarcane farmers have killed themselves in Karnataka’s ‘sugar bowl’ of Mandya in the last one month, officials have said.

“There are hundreds more on the brink of suicide in the district,” said Vasu HV, the secretary of the Karnataka Janashakti, an organisati­on that blames both the Centre and the state for the plight of farmers in the state.

Vasu said state-owned sugar factories were running at half their capacity because of pending upgrades and repairs.

Independen­t researcher, Vikram Gopal, said the cri- sis extended beyond sugarcane farming. “The prices of tomatoes and silk too have gone down by more than half. The farmers are not even able to recover cost.”

He accused the Centre of not delivering on its poll promise of fixing prices of agricultur­al produce by calculatin­g the cost of production and adding 50% to that as farmers’ profit. The Fair Remunerati­ve Price of sugarcane has been fixed at ` 2,300 per tonne this year while the cost of production is much higher, activists say.

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