Collector warns of cane-laden lorries seizure to stop diversion

Transportation of cane to other areas from the mill’s registered and non-registered areas would be allowed only on the production of a NOC from the divisional cane officer, the Collector said.
Representative image
Representative image

VELLORE: As part of efforts to check diversion of sugarcane from the mill areas to private jaggery units, Vellore Collector Kumaravel Pandian threatened to seize cane laden lorries and act against those responsible under the Cane Control Order and Essential Commodities Act for transporting cane from the Vellore Cooperative Mill’s area to jaggery units or private sugar mills clandestinely.

Transportation of cane to other areas from the mill’s registered and non-registered areas would be allowed only on the production of a NOC from the divisional cane officer, the Collector said.

Official sources revealed that the order was “due to brokers and private mill agents approaching cane farmers in the Vellore mill area and offering them ready cash up to Rs 2,500 per tonne (government prices are around Rs 3,100) to move loads to jaggery units and private mills.

However, Vellore mill chairman M Anandan said the order was the fallout of some blunt talking at a recent department meet, where he accused officials of turning a blind eye to this nefarious practice. “Such action needs to be taken as the mill plans to start ‘slow firing’ of its boilers on November 27 and trial runs on December 3 before the crushing season starts,” mill officials said.

Anandan said, “The mill – which currently has no dues to its farmers – can easily make a profit of Rs 22 crore annually if it is allowed to crush to its full potential of 4.30 lakh metric tonnes per year. This will enable the mill to settle all dues itself without having to go to the government for funds.” Elaborating, he said, “last year we crushed 1.55 lakh MT and this year we have plans to cross the 3 lakh MT mark. This year with diversions from Tiruttani and Kallakurichi I and II units we plan to exceed 3 lakh MT.”

“We feel confident of achieving the target as the mill has undergone repairs and overhauls estimated at around Rs 4 crore,” Anandan said.

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