Sugar mills to defy UP govt orders to clear all cane dues by month end

Sugar mills to defy UP govt orders to clear all cane dues by month end

Lucknow : The sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh are least concerned over the Uttar Pradesh government directive to clear the arrears of the cane farmers for the last season 2018-19 by August 31 as the mills owe Rs 7364.82 crores as on date. Though the Yogi Adityanath government has rewarded the state cane development minister Suresh Rana for his good job by promoting him to the cabinet rank from minister of state,but the situation remain grims on the cane dues front as the next crushing season is just two months away and slated to commence from November first week. A source in the sugar department here on Friday said it does not seem that the sugar mills would be able to clear up their dues when the fresh season commences.

" Laxity on the part of the government to take action against the erring sugar mills is the main reason for delay in the payment even as the government had given several deadline for it and the last one is on August 31," the sources said. According to the estimate, the sources said at this rate of payment, the mills will still have to pay round Rs 6000 crores to the farmers when they commence their fresh crushing season in November which would be a great disappointment for the government. The sugar industry owes over Rs 7364.82 crore to the farmers of which 95 per cent share is the private sector sugar mills. Against total cane payables of Rs 33,047 crore, the sugar mills have, so far, paid 77 per cent or Rs 25,682.87 crore to farmers, thus leaving 23 per cent or Rs 7364.82 crore in arrears for the 2018-19 season. The central and the state governments had announced separate soft loan schemes for helping private sugar mills pay farmers in the backdrop of sugar market glut, export market squeeze and falling sugar prices. The cane department after holding a meeting with the representatives of private mills had issued stern directives for ensuring full payment by August 31.

They were also instructed to complete their annual repairing and maintenance at the earliest, so that mills could start operations on time for the upcoming sugar season (October 2019-April 2020). Last month, the government had warned defaulting mills of filing of cases under Section 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act (ESA), 1955, and issuance of recovery certificates (RC), which authorise district administration to seize a plant and the stock for auctioning, if farmer dues were not paid on time. In fact, Chief Minister Adityanath had asked mills to settle their outstanding and stressed any delay in clearing arrears would not be tolerated. In 2018-19 crushing cycle, 119 sugar mills, including 94 private, 24 cooperative and a UP State Sugar Corporation unit, had participated in crushing operations. The state sugar output stood at about 1182.30 lakh quintal compared to over 1205 lakh quintal in 2017-18.


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