Uttar Pradesh govt uncovers fake bonds of 1.5 million tonnes of sugarcane

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In its ongoing campaign to weed out the ‘sugarcane mafia’, the Uttar Pradesh government has uncovered fake bonds of almost 1.5 million tonnes (MT) of sugarcane, even as the next crushing season is fast approaching.

The sugarcane mafia operates by registering as bona fide farmers with sugarcane/mill societies. During crushing season, they procure cane from small farmers at cheaper rates and resell it to mills at a much higher government determined rates known as the state advised price (SAP).

According to UP sugarcane and sugar commissioner Sanjay Bhoosreddy, some 57,348 fake sugarcane bonds so far had been unearthed across the state under the ongoing anti-mafia campaign. These fake bonds pertained to almost 25,000 hectares of cane area and 1.5 MT of sugarcane crop.

Under the law, each farmer is attached to the nearby mill for selling cane during crushing season. They are issued with receipts or ‘purchees’ based on the annual cane area survey during July-August, that determines total area under the crop and estimates of yield.

Meanwhile, Moradabad range accounted for the maximum 15,870 fake sugarcane bonds, followed by Bareilly and Saharanpur ranges at 12,803 and 11,510 bonds respectively. Similar cases have also been detected in Lucknow, Deoria, Faizabad, Gorakhpumafia operates by registering as bona fide farmers with sugarcane/mill societies. During crushing season, they procure cane from small farmers at cheaper rates and resell it to mills at a much higher government determined r and Devipatan ranges

Bhoosreddy said the cane society membership of these ‘farmers’ would be terminated, while action would be taken against colluding employees. “The campaign will continue until the phenomenon of fake bonds is completely eradicated in the coming crushing season.”

With 2019 Lok Sabha elections due early next year, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government helmed by Yogi Adityanath is looking to increasing the farm income and keep farmers in good humour. In this regard, the sugarcane department had undertaken tough measures to weed out cane mafia and check rampant embezzlement in the entire sugarcane value chain.

Earlier this month, the private sugar millers had reiterated unwillingness to operate units in the coming season until the core issue of outstanding burden of about Rs 100 billion was settled by the government. They had even announced to boycott cane reservation meetings, which are conducted to reserve cane area to respective mills depending upon their capacity, demand, performance in previous crushing season, payments ratio etc.

In a letter to the cane commissioner, UP Sugar Mills Association (UPSMA) had referred to the purported precarious financial position of millers arising out of the massive arrears pertaining to the previous 2017-18 crushing season even as the next season was fast approaching.

Recently, the Adityanath government had allocated Rs 40 billion in UP supplementary budget to offer as soft loans to private sector mills for settling arrears. The state cane acreage is estimated to touch 2.6 MH from about 2.2 MH during 2017-18. Last year, UP produced a record more than 1.2 MT of sugar.




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