Millennium Post

Sugar mills owe nearly Rs 13,000cr for 2019-20 season to cane farmers as on Sept 11: Govt

New Delhi: Sugar mills owed nearly Rs 13,000 crore to cane farmers as on September 11 for the crop procured during 2019-20 marketing season that started October last year, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.

"Out of total cane dues payable of Rs 75,585 crore for sugar season 2019-20 as on September 11, 2020, about Rs 62,591 crore have been paid to the sugarcane farmers & only Rs 12,994 crores cane dues are yet to be paid," Minister of State for food and consumer affairs Danve Raosaheb Dadarao said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The sugar mills also owe Rs 548 crore for 2018-19 marketing season (October-September), Rs 242 crore for 2017-18 and Rs 1,899 crore for 2016-17 and earlier, taking the total outstanding amount to Rs 15,683 crore.

As per the information received from the Uttar Pradesh government, out of total cane dues payable of Rs 5,339 crore by Bajaj group against their 14 mills for sugar season 2019-20, an amount of Rs 2,378 crore has been paid to sugarcane farmers and Rs 2,961 crore are yet to be paid.

Bajaj Hindusthan has 14 mills in Uttar Pradesh.

"Payment of cane price to sugarcane farmers by the sugar mills is a continuous process. However, on account of surplus sugar production during the previous sugar seasons, the sugar prices remained depressed which adversely affected the liquidity of the sugar mills resulting in accumulation of cane price arrears of the farmers," the minister said.

To improve the liquidity of sugar mills and enabling them to clear cane price arrears of farmers, the central government has taken various measures in past three sugar seasons viz extended assistance to sugar mills to facilitate the export of sugar; extended assistance to mills for maintaining buffer stocks; extended soft loans to sugar mills through banks to clear cane price dues; and fixed minimum selling price of sugar.

The Sugarcane (Control) Order 1966 stipulates the payment of cane price within 14 days of supply. The powers to enforce the provisions of this order with regard to payment of cane dues of farmers is vested with the state governments as they have necessary field formation for its implementation.

"As informed by Government of Uttar Pradesh, the Cane Commissioner, Uttar Pradesh has issued notices to defaulting sugar mills including mills of Bajaj Group directing them to clear cane price arrears of farmers; recovery certificate has been issued by cane commissioner against one of its mill viz. Rudhauli, District-Basti, to recover the dues," the minister said.

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