Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee correspondent
The Karnataka government has been forced to suspend its plan of privatising Mandya’s MySugar factory due to the indefinite agitation launched by farmers.
Farmers in Karnataka have been protesting for over a month against the state government’s decision to privatise the historic Mysore Sugar Company Ltd. (MySugar) factory in Mandya. MySugar is the only government-run sugar factory of the dozens of sugar mills in the state. The factory had been shut down by the government due to heavy losses. MySugar factory had the capacity to crush 5,000 metric tonnes of sugarcane annually. Many sugarcane farmers and workers in the Mandya and Mysore districts relied on the factory for their livelihoods.
The Karnataka government had earlier announced its plan to lease the factory for 40 years to a private company. However, farmers opposed this decision and demanded that the government take measures to run the factory. They showed that it is the onus of the government to revive the factory instead of selling it off.
The sustained protest of the farmers has forced the government to suspend its plan of privatisation. Instead, the Chief Minister has announced that an expert committee will be set up to review the technical and financial aspects of the factory and modernise it by upgrading the machinery. The government has also promised that the factory will start processing sugarcane from the next season. This is yet another example of how the government has no choice but to suspend or rollback privatisation in the face of powerful people’s struggles.