Sugarcane farmers of Shamli district in Uttar Pradesh are facing the crisis of delay in payment. Three sugar mills in the district have outstanding dues of Rs 338.82 crore for the last crushing season (2022-23).
Sugarcane farmers have been protesting at the sugar mill located in Shamli for 80 days regarding the outstanding payment, but till now the farmers have not been able to get any assurance regarding the payment from this sugar mill which has the highest outstanding payment of Rs 221.62 crore. On Thursday, Rashtriya Lok Dal President Jayant Chaudhary and Bharatiya Kisan Union national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait also came to support the ongoing protest at Shamli Sugar Mill regarding payment of sugarcane dues. On this occasion, due to the presence of about five thousand farmers in the city and tractors, the entire city was jammed.
The significant matter is that the Uttar Pradesh government has not increased the State Advisory Price (SAP) of sugarcane in the last crushing season and had kept the SAP constant at Rs 350 per quintal for the early variety. At the same time, the government of Haryana, a state sharing border with this district, has increased the SAP of sugarcane to Rs 386 per quintal for the current crushing season (2023-24), which was Rs 372 per quintal last year.
Haryana currently has the highest SAP in the country this season. On the other hand, sugarcane farmers of neighbouring state Uttar Pradesh have to protest to get payment of their dues. The BJP is in power in both the states.
The Upper Doab Sugar Mills located in Shamli city has the highest outstanding of about Rs 221.62 crore and this mill has only paid for the sugarcane supplied till January 12, 2023, whereas this sugar mill has crushed till May 20. Was. This is one of the oldest sugar mills in the country. Sugarcane crushing has not yet started in this mill in the current crushing season (2023-24). Similarly, payment of about Rs 73 crore is outstanding at the sugar mill located in Oon in the district.
Farmers have outstanding of Rs 44.11 crore at Bajaj Hindusthan Sugar Mill located at Thana Bhawan in Shamli district. This mill has made payment till March 24, 2023, whereas the mill had run till April 13.
Talking about sugarcane dues in the entire Uttar Pradesh, only data till October 5 is available on the state government website, according to which the sugar mills of the state have paid Rs 33,943.81 crore to the sugarcane farmers in the crushing season 2022-23 till October 5, 2023. did. This was 89.21 percent of the total payment. In the last season, 1098.82 lakh tonnes of sugarcane was crushed in the state and 104.82 lakh tonnes of sugar was produced.
The condition of the sugarcane farmers of the state can also be gauged from the fact that on one hand they have to protest for months to get the payment of their dues, on the other hand, despite the increase in the cost of cultivation, the state government is maintaining the State Advisory Price (SAP) of sugarcane is not increasing. Sugarcane price was not increased even in the last crushing season and it remained stable at Rs 350 per quintal. Despite the start of the new crushing season (September-October), the state government has not yet announced the SAP for the current crushing season (2023-24).
On the other hand, the Haryana government had increased the price by Rs 10 per quintal in the last crushing season also. Manohar Lal Khattar government has already announced an increase of Rs 14 per quintal for the current season and Rs 14 per quintal for the next season (2024-25). The price of sugarcane has been increased to Rs 386 per quintal for 2023-24 and Rs 400 per quintal for 2024-25.
It may be mentioned that Shamli district has clinched the top spot in sugarcane productivity in Uttar Pradesh, with a record-breaking 1025.12 quintals per hectare during the 2022-23 crushing season. Three districts of West UP have topped in the area are Muzaffarnagar and Meerut, including Shamli.
According to the data released by the sugar industry and Sugarcane Development Department, UP, the total sugarcane productivity in the state in the crushing season 2022-23 has been 839.48 quintals per hectare. Muzaffarnagar with 948.84 quintals per hectare and Meerut with 914.95 quintals per hectare have second and third place in productivity respectively. Despite this, Shamli district finds itself in a sticky situation when it comes to receiving payments. Local farmers are caught in a predicament as sugar mills fail to make timely payments for the sugarcane they purchase, leading to farmer protests.
Rakesh Tikait, national spokesperson of BKU (Tikait) said the agitation would continue till the payment of arrears was not cleared. "The government talks about paying the cost, but the sugarcane price has not been declared yet. There has been a demand to declare the sugarcane price before the start of the season," he said.
He further said that there is a dispute regarding sugarcane centres in several villages. In such a situation, the district administration should work on building a sugarcane centre, as per the demand by villagers. Unless these demands are met, the farmers are not going to leave from here. Farmers said they were opposed to supplying sugarcane to sugar mills and urged that it be directed to all sugar mills in the upcoming crushing season. They are also demanding the settlement of outstanding dues with interest.
The new sugarcane crushing season (October 1, 2023- September 30, 2024) has started but the farmers of Uttar Pradesh have not yet been fully paid the sugarcane dues of the previous crushing season (2022-23). Sugarcane farmers of the state have an outstanding of about Rs 4,000 crore on more than a dozen sugar mills. Some of these mills have made payments only till December 2022.
Not only this, but the state government has also not declared the State Advisory Price (SAP) of sugarcane for the current season, whereas it should be announced before the start of the season. In the last season (2022-23), the SAP for early variety of sugarcane was Rs 350 per quintal.