Sugarcane growers in Punjab await pending payments

Chandigarh: Cane growers in the state are still awaiting payment four months after the conclusion of the harvesting season. A cumulative outstanding amount of ₹190 crore is owed by the mills, with ₹40 crore pending from preceding crushing seasons, reported Hindustan Times.

Within the state, there are currently 15 operational mills—nine being cooperative and six privately owned. Commencing in November of the previous year, the ongoing crushing season has processed close to 50% of the cultivated cane.

The total cane cultivation area this year spanned 84,000 hectares (2.05 lakh acres), with harvested cane from over 40,000 hectares, according to the agriculture department’s figures. Regrettably, both government-owned and privately owned mills have yet to disburse ₹150 crore to cane growers, with a mere ₹25 crore having been distributed to date.

Manjit Singh Rai, who leads the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) in Doaba, notes that privately owned mills in Phagwara and Dhuri owe farmers ₹33 crore and ₹8 crore, respectively. The Dhuri mill recently released ₹5 crore, leaving ₹8 crore outstanding. The Golden Sandhar Sugar Mill, formerly known as Wahid-Sandhar Sugar Mill in Phagwara, has dues related to the past four crushing seasons.

As per news report, Cane commissioner Rakesh Raheja said that the Dhuri mill will settle outstanding dues within the week. The government has initiated the process to clear payments for the Phagwara mill through property auctions. Raheja further said the government has disbursed some payments to the farmers and has kept a budgetary provision of ₹2,000 crore. “A total of ₹2,600 crore would be paid to the sugarcane growers in the current season,” he said.


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