UP sugar mills stand in arrears of Rs 4,450 cr to the cane farmers for last crushing season
The new sugarcane crushing season (2021-22) has started in UP but the cane farmers’ dues for the last season have not yet been cleared yet. According to the data released by the sugar industry and cane development department of the state on October 8, 2021, the sugar mills stand in arrears of about Rs 4,450 crore to the cane farmers.
The new sugarcane crushing season (2021-22) has started in Uttar Pradesh (UP) but the cane farmers’ dues for the last season have not been cleared yet. According to the data released by the sugar industry and cane development department of the state on October 8, 2021, the sugar mills stand in arrears of about Rs 4,450 crore to the cane farmers. As per the data available, Rs 28,574.21 crore has been paid to the farmers so far for the cane supplied in the last crushing season (2020-21). According to the information shared by the state government recently, the total payments due to the farmers for the last crushing season is Rs 33,025 crore. Going by this calculation, the money that the sugar mills owe to the farmers comes to Rs 4,450 crore.
It is not only the private sugar mills but also the cooperative sugar mills of the state that stand in arrears to the farmers. Although the data released on October 8 by the state government does not categorize the sugar mills’ dues, yet as per recent data available, the cooperative sugar mills stood in arrears of more than 31 per cent in the first week of September. Among these, several of the sugar mills in the western part of the state, including those in Baghpat, Ramala, Nanauta and Morna, stood in arrears of more than Rs 300 crore. There is no recent information as to how much of these dues have cleared. It is notable that it is in this part of the state that there is a greater impact of the movement against the new central farm laws and that the cane farmers are in a sizeable number here. Also, it is in western UP that you have several of the least-paying sugar mills among the private ones. Moreover, Shamli, the home district of the state cane development and sugar industry minister Suresh Rana, also lies in this part, and the Thanabhavan sugar mill, which falls in his constituency, stands in large arrears.
As of September 6, 2021, cooperative sugar mills owed cane price payments worth Rs 875.84 crore to the cane farmers. The October 8 figures do not mention separately what the share of cooperative sugar mills is in the overall cane payment arrears of Rs 4,450 crore, but it is nonetheless true that these dues have not been fully paid yet. A farmer who supplies cane to Ramala sugar mill in Baghpat district said to RuralVoice, “Earlier, the Ramala sugar mill payments were much better but this sugar mill, too, has now joined the ranks of the sugar mills that delay payments.” It becomes a clear pointer to the following: in a scenario where even the state government-run sugar mills are not paying on time, how can it have created pressure on private sugar mills for fast payments?
The state government has increased the State Advisory Price (SAP) of sugarcane by Rs 25 per quintal to Rs 350 per quintal for the current crushing season. It did not increase the SAP at all for the last three years. The Yogi Adityanath government in the state had increased the SAP by Rs 10 per quintal in the 2017-18 crushing season when it had just come to power. Thus, the current dispensation increased the SAP by only Rs 35 per quintal in its entire five-year tenure. The earlier governments had made larger increases. Besides, the neighbouring state Haryana has fixed cane SAP at Rs 362 per quintal and Punjab at Rs 360 per quintal. No wonder the cane farmers are far from being pleased with the state government.