Private sugar mills should settle farmers' arrears by August: CM Yogi

Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has warned the private sugar mills to settle full farmers' outstanding by August 2019.

Reviewing the payments status of sugar mills here last evening, Adityanath underlined any delay in clearing arrears would not be tolerated, thus indicating tough action against defaulters after the deadline expires.

Considering the delay in payment, he directed officials to ensure that mills paid their dues to farmers in installments by August. According to sources, nearly Rs 10,000 crore are still pending on state private millers.

The CM also said the state private and public sector mills had collectively paid Rs 68,828 crore to cane farmers in the last two years of his government.

To provide financial support to farmers, he suggested a corpus be created for investing in their welfare activities and similar projects, including toilets, restrooms and potable water.

Besides, he exhorted the youth of the state to become entrepreneurs by taking loan under the flagship PM Mudra Yojana for setting up sugarcane processing and juice units.

Adityanath instructed officials to take steps for restarting the defunct state owned Majhola and Rasda sugar mills at the earliest. The tender process has already begun. He also issued similar directives for other cooperative mills. He asked officials to ensure that the capacity of the public sector mills be increased to 5,000 tonnes sugarcane crushed per day (TCD) from the present capacity of 700 and 1,200 TCD.

Meanwhile, the CM directed officials to ensure sugarcane farmers received their supply slips on time without any delay even as he stressed on completing the ongoing cane survey in a transparent manner.

During the recently concluded 2019 Lok Sabha polls in UP, sugarcane arrears was one of the topmost political agenda for the opposition parties to corner the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government as anti-farmer. Interestingly, ensuring prompt sugarcane payments was one of the foremost pre-poll promises of the BJP in run up to the 2017 UP elections. However, prompt payment of cane prices has been eluded the 2-year-old BJP dispensation.

Last year, the Adityanath government had even floated a soft loan scheme for the private millers. It was targetted at mills whose payments ratio stood at more than 30% during 2017-18 season. Later, the eligible units were sanctioned soft loans worth a little over Rs 2,900 crore.

In the 2018-19 crushing cycle, total 119 sugar mills, including 94 private, 24 cooperative and a UP State Sugar Corporation unit, had participated in crushing operations, which is now over.

Last year, UP mills had produced 12 million tonnes (MT) of sugar, while payables to farmers stood at Rs 35,400 crore. This year, the sugar output is likely to be a little less than last year, while total payables are expected below Rs 35,000 crore.

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