Sugar mills in India owe Rs 18,958 crore to sugarcane farmers

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New Delhi: Sugar mills in India, which has seen a glut in production, owe whopping Rs 18,958 crore as on June 18, according to the government data.

The maximum amount of cane arrears owed by sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh, which stands at Rs 11,082 crore, followed by Karnataka (Rs 1,704 crore) and Maharashtra (Rs 1,338 crore).

According to official data, sugar mills in Punjab are yet to pay Rs 989 crore to cane growers. Millers in Gujarat and Bihar owes Rs 965 crore and Rs 923 crore respectively to sugarcane farmers.

Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, “Payment of cane price to sugarcane growing 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 government had introduced various measures, including a soft loan scheme, hike in the minimum selling price of sugar and others to help sugar mills clear mounting cane arrears. But, millers failed to clear it, citing surplus sugar and depressed sugar prices.

The industry body, ISMA, had estimated that the sugar production in India in the current year is anticipated to be around 33 MMT, about 5,00,000 tonnes more than last year.

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