Sugar mills to flout government’s August 31 deadline

Lucknow: August 31 deadline set by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is coming to an end but still sugar mills in the state have not cleared the sugarcane arrears. According to the reports, mills in the state still owe Rs 7,364.82 crore to farmers of the 2018-19 crushing season. It is expected that the millers will defy the deadline and also they will not be able to pay cane dues before the commencement of the upcoming crushing season.

The sugar mills have so far paid 77 per cent or Rs 25,682.87 crore to cane growers against the total cane payables of Rs 33,047 crore in the 2018-19 season. Thus, yet 23 per cent or Rs 7,364.82 crore is still pending. Out of the total pending dues, 95 per cent amount has to be paid by private sugar mills.

Sugarcane arrears in Uttar Pradesh are getting cleared at a snail pace; therefore CM Yogi Adityanath had served Agust 31 deadline to all mills for clearing the cane arrears. Keeping in view the delay in the payment clearing process, the CM Yogi Adityanath strictly instructed the officials that all the dues of cane growers should be paid by August.

On July 31 state cane commissioner, Manish Chauhan, held meeting with representatives of private mills and asked them to clear full cane dues before August 31, and also instructed them to complete their annual repairing and maintenance at the earliest, so that mills operations for the upcoming season can be started on time without any delay.

The Indian sugar sector is suffering from various hurdles from last two to three years, and to help the sugar mills, the government introduced various measures like soft loan scheme, hike in minimum selling price, scrapping of export duty, 100 per cent rise in import duty, and others. Millers claim that that surplus sugar production and low domestic sugar prices in the crushing season 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 have led to the build-up of cane price arrears.

To help the sugar mills to clear the cane dues, recently Central government had approved the creation of 40 Lakh tonnes sugar buffer stock for one year from August 1, 2019, to July 31, 2020. For this, the Central government would incur the estimated maximum expenditure of Rs 1,674 crore.

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