UP govt seeks plans of sugar mills for CSR spend ahead of crushing season

Ahead of the next crushing season, the Uttar Pradesh government has flagged the statutory corporate social responsibility (CSR) spend for the state sugar mills.

UP sugarcane and sugar industry principal secretary Sanjay Bhoosreddy has directed all sugar mills and other companies/agencies associated with the sugarcane value chain to submit an audited report and blueprint of their CSR activities.

In a meeting with representatives of the sugar mills here last evening, Bhoosreddy reminded millers that under the Companies Act 2013, sugar mills with Rs 500 crore net worth, Rs 1,000 crore turnover or net profit of more than Rs 5 crore were mandated to spend 2 per cent of the average net profit for 3 years towards CSR activities.

Apart from sugar mills, farm chemical organisations such as IFFCO, KRIBHCO, FMC Corporation etc have also been asked to ensure their participation in activities aimed at the betterment of the socio-economic condition of the state cane farmers.

In 2018-19 season, 119 state mills, including 94 private, 24 cooperative and a UP State Sugar Corporation Limited (UPSSCL) unit, participated in crushing operations. The state sugar output clocked 11.8 million tonnes (MT) vis-à-vis compared nearly 12 MT in 2017-18.

He lamented that economically weak sugarcane societies in UP were unable to provide even the basic amenities to farmers during the crushing seasons. Underlining that some villages were in dire need of basic infrastructure, Bhoosreddy noted that an integrated approach towards the mandatory CSR spend by mills and other agencies was needed.

He further clarified the state government would periodically review all CSR activities to ensure they were concurrent with the sugarcane sector needs.

IFFCO will provide Rs 4,000 insurance cover to farmers on the purchase of each bag of fertiliser subject to the ceiling of Rs 100,000. Similarly, the farmers would be provided with insurance cover worth Rs 1,000 on the purchase of pesticide worth Rs 150, subject to the ceiling of Rs 100,000.

Meanwhile, the sugarcane crushing in UP is expected to start after Diwali and go full steam by the middle of November.

Of total payables of Rs 33,048 crore for 2018-19 season, the arrears currently stand at about Rs 4,500 crore. Of these, the private sector mills account for the bulk of Rs nearly 4,200 crore, followed by government-controlled cooperative mills at Rs 300 crore. The state had filed police cases against 9 sugar mills, including those operated by Bajaj Hindusthan, Modi and Wave Groups over outstanding. FIRs were filed under stringent section 3/7 of Essential Commodities Act (ECA) 1955 and section 420 and 120 (B) Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Besides, recovery certificates (RC) were issued against them, which entitles district administration to seize movable and immovable properties, including sugar stock, for auction, so that the liabilities are settled.

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