All pending sugarcane dues in UP to be cleared by November end: Adityanath

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The Uttar Pradesh government is confident that the remaining Rs 70 billion of sugarcane dues accruing to farmers will be paid to them by November 30 and most mills will start crushing for the new 2018-19 season ahead of Diwali.

“We have allocated Rs 55 billion to the state’s sugar sector, of which Rs 40 billion will be in the form of soft loans to be used for paying farmers directly. Already, 62 of the 119 sugar mills in the state have made over 90 per cent payment, while 42 have made around 50-75 per cent of payment to farmers. The rest will clear the dues by end of November,” Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told reporters on Friday.

Pending sugarcane dues have been a major issue with UP farmers, particularly in western part of the state.

Last month, thousands farmers from west UP marched towards capital Delhi to press for their demands, one of which faster clearance of sugarcane dues.

On the vexed question of scrapping the State Advised Price (SAP) of sugarcane as advocated under the Rangarajan formula, the Chief Minister said the state government won’t do anything to hurt the interest of sugarcane growers.

He said that in 2018-19 season, the state government has issued licenses to about 170 new gur and khandsari units and freed them from most restrictions, which will also provide an option for sugarcane farmers to sell their produce.

Sugarcane acreage in the state has gone up from 6.4 million hectares to 11.6 million, leading to unprecedented production surplus in the state, which many experts believe isn’t expected to go down soon.

Adityanath also said from the 2018-19 season, the state government has started procurement of maize and bajra from farmers in addition to wheat and rice, which will sold through ration shops soon.

“In 2016-17, after we came to power, 3.7 million tonnes of wheat were procured. This was raised to 5.3 million tonnes in 2017-18, while 4.2 million tonnes of paddy was purchased during the same period. Earlier, just miniscule amount of wheat and paddy was purchased largely from commission agents and middlemen as the state simply didn’t have any mechanism to buy directly from farmers,” the Chief Minister said.

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