The deadlock between sugarcane mill owners and farmers continued on Thursday in spite of a fresh round of talks convened by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru.
CM Kumaraswamy set a deadline of 15 days for all owners to pay farmers arrears for sugarcane crops, which in many cases is more than the fair and remunerative price (FRP) set by the central government.
Kumaraswamy is hopeful that this will end the deadlock between the two groups ahead of the winter session of the legislature in Belagavi which is set to begin on December 10.
The state government has not agreed to help fund the bill to be paid by sugarcane mill owners to the farmers. Kumaraswamy revealed that in all, arrears of up to Rs. 35.62 crore need to be paid to sugarcane growers in the state.
Kumaraswamy skipped a scheduled visit to Ballari to attend Thursday's meeting, which comes two days after the last meeting held on Tuesday.
The flurry of meetings was prompted by protests held by sugarcane farmers on Sunday and Monday. On Sunday, sugarcane farmers from Belagavi stormed the Suvarna Soudha legislature building in trucks laden with sugarcane demanding a higher price for their crops.
A section of protesting farmers from across the state arrived in Bengaluru on Monday to stage protests against the state government. Following the protests, Kumaraswamy decided to convene a meeting between sugarcane mill owners, sugarcane farmers and other stakeholders to resolve the issue.
The opposition BJP, meanwhile, has lent its support to the protests held by farmers. Members of the party took to the streets on Wednesday to protest against the supposed 'anti-farmer' policies of the state government.