In a major reprieve to sugarcane growers of Punjab, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday announced to clear arrears of farmers that amount to Rs. 148.5 crore, for the crushing season 2013-14, within one week.
It may be recalled that of the Rs. 464 crore on account of total cost of sugarcane purchased by the state cooperative mills, Rs. 250.5 crore had already been cleared by these mills and Rs. 38 crore had been paid by the state government from its treasury, besides Rs. 27 crore by the state cooperative bank under the central government's free loan scheme. Now, Rs. 148.5 crore remained.
A spokesperson said Badal asked the chief secretary and the finance department to ensure instant payment for sugarcane procured in future, as in the case of wheat and paddy.
Also, the CM asked the social security and welfare departments to clear all pending payments on account of financial assistance under various schemes.