June 9, 2008 / 4:30 AM / 10 years ago

REFILE-Farmers lay siege to Bajaj Hindusthan mill - paper

(Refiles to fix typo in headline and lead paragraph))

MUMBAI, June 9 (Reuters) - Thousands of farmers laid siege to a mill owned by the country’s largest sugar producer for non-payment of sugarcane dues, Business Standard newspaper reported on Monday.

The district administration has posted policemen at Bajaj Hindusthan’s (BJHN.BO) mill at Meerut where farmers have burnt an effigy of Chairman Shishir Bajaj, the paper said. About 35 employees of the company and their families have been trapped in the mill since June 1, the paper reported.

“The mill owes 9 crore (90 million) rupees to the farmers for 2006/07 season and another 10.35 crore for the current season. The agitation will continue indefinitely,” the paper quoted Nitin Tyagi, chairman of the local Maliyana Cane Union as saying.

“We have fully complied with the Court orders for both seasons and have paid accordingly,” Business Standard quoted a Bajaj Hindusthan spokesman as saying.

“For the 2006/07 season, we have no arrears. An amount of 75 crore rupees is due for the current season and it will be cleared in next 7-15 days,” the spokesman said, according to the report.

Rakesh Bhartia, chief executive officer of the firm, confirmed to Reuters that there was a farmers’ agitation and added that the company had already paid farmers their arrears. (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Ramya Venugopal))

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