With hundreds of farmers waiting to get their arrears to the tune of Rs 32 crore from Thiru Arooran Sugar Mills Private Limited in Thanjavur this year, the mill’s announcement on insolvency has come as a shocker to the farming community. Already, cane farmers have to repay Rs 350 crore as loan to various nationalized banks, which was fraudulently availed of by the sugar mill authorities with the help of bankers and government officials.
Thiru Arooran Sugars Limited and its sister concern Sree Ambika Sugars Limited have not yet disbursed fair and remunerative price (FRP) to the tune of Rs 32 crore to hundreds of sugarcane farmers in Thanjavur district which should have been done before April last year. A M Sasikumar, 37, of Manapudaiyur, a differently abled agricultural labourer, was one among the hapless lot.
“When I was working in a sugarcane field in 2016, the sugar mill’s area field officer took me to Corporation Bank and compelled me to open a savings account saying they would give me a job in the mill. In June 2018, I received a notice from Corporation Bank asking me to repay the loan of Rs 19 lakh I got from the bank. When I approached the bank, I could not get a proper reply from them”, he added. It came to light that apart from not paying the pending dues of FRP for years, the sugar mill authorities had cheated the farmers to the tune of Rs 350 crores using forged documents.
“Bankers and other officials are involved in this multi-crore scam,” said the secretary of Thanjavur District Cauvery Farmers Protection Association, Swamimalai S Vimalnathan. In a reply to the Commissioner of Sugars, the mill authorities accepted that they had availed loans to the tune of Rs 82.40 crore in the name of 4,824 farmers. But the collector’s data was double what they provided, he said. “The amount and number of farmers mentioned by the collector were only with regard to SBI and Corporation banks. However, hundreds of farmers were served notice from ICICI, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda and Vijaya Banks”, he claimed.
Meanwhile, Cuddalore police arrested the managing director of the mills R V Thiagarajan for alleged misappropriation of money based on a complaint lodged by the Cuddalore farmers last month. Subsequently, he was released on bail and no further action has been initiated against him, he added.
(source : TOI)