Udipi; August 16: Addressing the press meet on August 16, Friday Raghupati Bhat, former MLA expressed his strong opposition to government’s plan to set up horticulture university in place of the defunct Brahmavar sugar factory. On the occasion of Independence Day celebration on August 15, Thursday, Vinaya Kumar Sorake, minister for urban development and district-in –charge has announced that government is planning to set up horticulture university in sugar factory’s place.
He further said that the land around the Brahmavar sugar factor belongs to the farmers and not the government, therefore BJP is opposed to the proposed project. Before taking any decision the government should call a meeting with farmers and take their opinions into consideration, he added.
Besides, he mentioned that it was the dream and wish of the late Dr V S Acharya to re-opening the Brahmavar sugar factory and the place where the factory is located is ideal for sugarcane farming and there were nearly 5000 farmers incorporated in the cooperative society under which the sugar factory was running.The BJP government could not succeed in protecting the factory and resume its operation in spite of its relentless efforts.
Explaining why the BJP government had failed to resurrect the factory, he said, “In the year 2009 BJP government called for a global tender and Ramy Sugars placed a high bid with the hope that it would run the factory successfully. The company paid a deposit of Rs 1.5 crore to the government, but because of lack of experience, the sugar industry failed. Sometime later, another company from Hyderabad came forward, but Ramy filed a case against the government as it had already paid deposit, hence the government could not go forward with the Hyderabad-based company.
“At the time of the Assembly elections this time, Congress state chief Parameshwar had said that within a month Rs 60 crore would be released to clear all debts and reopen the factory. We have given them three months already, and we were willing to wait for a year if they had intended to go ahead with the factory. However, now district incharge minister has announced that a new project will come in its place, which is not right. Out of the promised Rs 60 crore, let the government release at least Rs 15 crore and pay off Ramy’s Rs 1.5 crore debt and use the remaining amount to pay farmers and labourers. Once this is done, there will not be any liabilities,” he said.
“Once the debts are cleared, a new global tender should be called and the factory should be used again for sugar production only. Whoever purchases the factory must set up sugar factory, along with any other industry if they wish to,” he added.
Speaking on the proposed horticulture university, he said BJP welcomes the idea, but it should not be set up in Brahmavar industrial area. “In 2012, all preparations were done to start an agricultural college in Kolalgiri on 350 acres of land. The horticulture university should be set up in the same area, as Kolalgiri is a central point for Udupi, Kundapur and Byndoor.