‘MySUGAR’ on the brink of closure By Nagaiah Lalanakere

‘MySUGAR’ on the brink of closure By Nagaiah Lalanakere

December 31, 2018

Mandya: Even as iconic industries in Mandya district — Mandya National Paper Mill at Belagola in Srirangapatna taluk and Mandya Acetate and Chemicals near Mandya — have shut down decades ago, another prestigious industry of the district, Mandya Sugar Factory, popularly known as ‘MySUGAR,’ said to be the first of its kind in Asia, seems to be all set for closure as the Government is said to have asked the factory Management  to halt operations from January.

The MySUGAR factory was running under loss, year after year and the Government, in a bid to revive the prestigious Sugar Mill, had pumped in  Rs.20 crore a few months ago, following which crushing operations had begun. But despite this, the Sugar Mill is slipping into the red and the Government is said to have begun moves to shut down the factory.

Management announces VRS

With the over a century-old sugar factory slipping into the red, the Management is said to have come up with a VRS plan for the employees, which has lent more credence to rumours that the Sugar Mill will be shut down permanently.

Following the Management offer, 112 out of the 318 employees of the Mill have applied for VRS, while the rest 206 are said to have declined the offer.

Apart from the 318 permanent staff, there are 30 outsourced employees and 150                                   daily wagers.

As part of VRS scheme, the MySUGAR Management has offered Rs.2 lakh to every employee who has a service period of one year, Rs.4 lakh for those having two years, Rs.6.5 lakh to those having three to five years and Rs.8.5 lakh to those having more than five years of service.

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Apart from offering VRS, the Management is also working on relieving the employees, who have been charged with   irregularities.

Some employees, taking objection to the Government plans, said that they were working honestly and gave their best for the survival of the iconic Sugar Mill, despite the fact that their wages have not been     revised since 2014.
Although the MySUGAR Management has said that it has worked out a compensation modelled on Mysore Paper Mill (MPM), Bhadravathi, the employees say that their situation is totally different from that at MPM. The employees want the Management to take note of their plight before announcing the compensation.

Meanwhile, the farmers too are upset at the pathetic state of MySUGAR. Alleging that the Sugar Mill stopped crushing some days ago, the farmers who have brought sugarcane from their fields in lorries, tractors, bullock carts and other means of transport, claimed that the Management was intentionally ignoring them in order to shut it down.

All these developments go to indicate that the Management was preparing to hit the last nail on the coffin of the prestigious ‘MySUGAR’ Mill.

Government eyeing MySUGAR  assets at Bengaluru

With the factory slipping into the red, the Management is facing a cash crunch, with no funds in hand. As such, a question has now risen on how the Management will pay compensation to the employees.

Adding to the woes, a huge stock of sugar is said to be lying unsold in the factory.

While the Government has gone into a silent mode after sanctioning Rs.20 crore, the employees claim that they have not been paid salaries for   5-6 months.

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In the midst of this situation, the public of Mandya doubt that the Government is making attempts to sell off MySUGAR properties at Bengaluru, in order to wash its hands off from debts.

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy (HDK), during his first stint as the Chief Minister over a decade ago, is said to have thought of this idea to pull MySUGAR out of the red. But then, HDK had to drop his plans due to strong opposition from farmers.

But now that Kumaraswamy has become the Chief Minister again, the people of Mandya are left wondering what plans the CM has to ensure that MySUGAR turns around and regains                                its lost glory.

Private partnership also on cards

Even as ‘MySUGAR’ is staring at closure, the Government is said to be working on plans to enter into a PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) with private parties. As part of the plan, the Government is said to be considering to hand over the factory’s Distillery Unit to a relative of Congress Minister K.J. George.

In order to make sure that it is a successful hand over, the Government is said to be phasing out employees, on the pretext of higher wages and local issues, according to some factory workers, who said they will strongly oppose any move to      privatise the factory.


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