UP govt hikes SAP of cane purchase but mills yet to pay Rs 1,337 cr to farmers

UP govt hikes SAP of cane purchase but mills yet to pay Rs 1,337 cr to farmers




 Akhilesh-Yadav..

Lucknow: Though the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh hiked the cane price by Rs 25 per quintal after a gap of three years, it failed to pressure the private sugar mills to pay the outstanding dues of over Rs 1337.42 crore of the last two seasons. The government announced the hike in the State Advisory Price(SAP) by Rs 25 in all the three categories and even put a condition that the mills would pay the farmers due in one installment, but there is no word about the pending dues of the last season amounting to Rs 1292.25 crore. Besides the private mills are also sitting on Rs 45.42 crore of the farmers pending of the 2014-15 season. Yesterday, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had said that his government will make all-out effort to get the dues of the cane farmers cleared by the private mills, but did not promise the time and date for its clearance. Besides, the CM did not elaborate how the mills would be paying the farmers their dues in one installment, when after the fresh season started from October 1 last, there was no payment made by the mills even after crushing of 338.38 lakh quintal of cane by 70 mills so far. As per the new rates of cane effective this season, common variety, that forms the bulk of cane produced, had not been revised for the last three years, was hiked to Rs 305 per quintal. The previous SAP hike was effected in 2012-13 from Rs 240 per quintal to Rs 280 per quintal. But the farmers and their organisations had been demanding increase to Rs 350 per quintal for selling cane to sugar mills over steep rise in farm input costs. As per the figures of the UP Sugar Mills Association(UPSMA), 92 private mills have paid Rs 14,807.27 crore or 91.97 per cent of the total dues and still Rs 1292.25 crore were pending of the farmers of the previous 2015-16 season. They also disclosed that the private mills were also yet to pay Rs 45.42 crore of the 2014-15 season too. The officials said in the current season, 70 mills at present function in the state, had crushed 338.36 lakh quintal of cane and had produced 31.63 lakh quintal of sugar at 9.35 per cent recovery rate. In the last season 117 mills in the state, including one of the corporation, 24 of the cooperative sectors and rest private had crushed 6456.65 lakh quintals of cane and produced 185.53 lakh quintal of sugar at 10.62 per cent recovery rate. Sugarcane is a major cash crop in UP and accounts for roughly Rs 30,000 crore worth of direct economy. There are over 4 million rural households in UP engaged in cane farming. UP and Maharashtra are India’s top sugarcane and sugar producers and contribute 50 per cent to the country’s annual production. The private mills dominate UP sugar sector with 92 of the total 117 mills. The cooperative sector comprises 24 mills, while UP State Sugarcane Corporation Limited (UPPSCL) controls one mill. For 2016-17, UP government has estimated cane acreage to increase marginally to 20.54 lakh hectares (LH) from 20.52 LH during 2015-16. The sugar production in the state is expected to be at par with the last year, when the state had clocked output of a little over 68.55 lakh tonnes.


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