UP govt asks sugar mills to clear farmers' dues by Oct 31, warns of action

A farmer works in his sugarcane field

The Uttar Pradesh government has set October 31 as deadline for sugar mills to clear dues of cane growers, state minister Suresh Rana said, warning strict action against defaulters.

Rana, the minister of sugarcane development and sugarcane mills, while addressing a meeting in Shamli on Friday said dues of the growers should be settled by October end, before the crushing season begins, failing which recovery certificates will be issued and farmers will be paid by selling sugar from the godowns.

On Wednesday, the Allahabad High Court directed the state government to clear dues of sugarcane growers on a plea by two farmers who said that they had grown the crop after taking loans from banks but they were not in a position to repay due to the non-payment of their dues.

Hundreds of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh, the leading sugarcane producing region of the country, are also scheduled to march to Delhi on Saturday after talks with the Union agriculture ministry failed on Friday. They started their march on September 11 with 15 demands, including dues from sale of sugarcane be settled within two weeks.

Rana said two sugar mills, Tikola and Mansurpur, of total 17 in the Saharanpur district has cleared their dues, while three others -- Sarsawa, Deoband and Nanota -- has paid back 90 per cent.

He said the state government was taking all necessary measures to ensure full payment to the farmers.

Muzaffarnagar's Cane Officer R D Divedi said that two mills in the district have made full payment to the farmers, while six others are yet to settle dues amounting to Rs 318.13 crore.

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