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Subabul growers back to square one

Subabul growers back to square one
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The issue of demand for remunerative price to subabul and eucalyptus wood, which attracted state-wide attention last month, appears to be back to...

Khammam: The issue of demand for remunerative price to subabul and eucalyptus wood, which attracted state-wide attention last month, appears to be back to square one, despite the assurance given by the purchaser - Bhadrachalam Paperboards Limited (BPL), ITC.

Subabul growers said ITC, the major purchaser of subabul and eucalyptus wood, used as raw material in paper manufacturing, has failed to fulfil its promise.

It may be recalled that the farmers opposing the middlemen took to streets last month. Following this, Marketing Minister T Harish Rao and Roads and Buildings Minister Tummala Nageswara Rao convened a meeting on February 14, and told the ITC representatives to honour the demands of farmers – elimination of middlemen system in procuring the wood, remunerative price, setting up of dumping yards etc.

With the ITC allegedly remaining non-committal towards its demands, the farmers staged a huge protest before ITC’s Sarapaka unit drawing the support of all major political parties. Later, the farmers intensified their stir by stopping the cutting and transportation of wood between February 25 and 28. Against this backdrop, the ITC held parleys with the growers on March 8 and again on 15.

“As per the negotiations, the ITC which promised to set up five dumping yards, one each at Madhira, Errupalem, Enkoor, Vinayakapuram and Karepally by Ugadi (March 18), had failed to do so,” Telangana Subabul, Eucalyptus Farmers Association president AK Rama Rao told The Hans India. This apart, the company has to withhold the middlemen system, but it’s unabated, he added.

“The company is yet to respond to our major demand of providing Rs 7,500 per tonne for eucalyptus and Rs 7,000 per tonne for subabul,” he said. Citing that they have to talk to higher officials in Kolkata, the Sarapaka unit officials dilly-dallying the issue, Association spokesperson Bonthu Rambabu said.

He informed that were organising a roundtable meeting in Khammam on March 23 inviting all political parties to chalk out an action plan. Meanwhile, the farmers have planned to conduct a padayatra from Errupalem to Sarapaka next week, where would lay siege to ITC unit.

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