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Goa MLA warns of street protest over closure of sugar factory

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Press Trust of India Panaji
Independent MLA Prasad Gaonkar on Monday warned of street protest here if the Goa government decides to close down the lone state-run sugar factory at Usgao village.
He gave the warning while speaking in the Assembly where he strongly opposed any move to close down the loss- making factory at Usgao in North Goa, saying it will adversely affect more than a 1,000 sugarcane growers and their families.
The MLA from Sanguem, a remote assembly constituency in the coastal state, was speaking during demands for grants of the cooperation department.
"I will have to sit on the streets of Panaji if government decides to close down this factory, he said.
He said the BJP-led government should take measures to make Goa's only government-run sugar factory economically viable rather than deciding to shut it down forever.
Cooperative Minister Govind Gawade had recently told the House that the government may close down the factory as it has accumulated losses of more than Rs 100 crore over the years.
The factory has been crushing sugarcane grown in Sanguem, Quepem and Sattari talukas of the state.
Talking to reporters outside the Assembly, Gaonkar said the unit has been supporting more than 1,000 families.
"It is easy for the government to claim they will shut it down. But what will happen to farmers?" he asked.
Gaonkar said even if the government compensates the farmers of the area for the next 10 years and asks them to switch over to another crop, it will not help them.
"Let farmers grow sugarcane crop and the government should create facility to process it, he said.
Gaonkar demanded that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant immediately call a meeting to discuss the issue.

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First Published: Jul 29 2019 | 6:56 PM IST

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