The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday directed six sugar mills in Punjab to clear the farmers’ dues within two weeks or face consequences.
During the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking direction to Punjab and Haryana governments to get sugarcane farmers’ dues for the 2014 crushing season cleared, the high court bench of justice SK Mittal and justice Shekher Dhawan was told by Punjab additional advocate general Gaurav Garg Dhuriwala that the six sugar mills in the state were dillydallying on completing the requisite documentation for securing loans announced by the government to clear the dues.
Following the submissions, the high court bench directed the sugar mills to complete the formalities asked for by the banks within two weeks. “If the order is not complied with, we are going to vacate the stay imposed on state governments against coercive methods against such mills,” the high court bench observed while posting the matter for further hearing on January 7.
Petitioner’s lawyer Ish Puneet Singh told reporters that the six mills owe around Rs 250 crore to Punjab farmers. Government sugar mills in Punjab as well as Haryana have cleared their dues, Singh added.
The six sugar mills include Rana Sugar Mills, Amritsar, Bhagwanpura Sugar Mills, Dhuri, The ahid Sandhar Sugars Limited, Phagwara, Indian Sucrose Limited, Hoshiarpur, Nahar Industrial Enterprises Limited, Amloh, and Chadha Sugars and Industries Limited, Gurdaspur.
As of Haryana, the lone defaulter is Naraingarh Sugar Mills, which is yet to pay Rs 22 crore. The high court was told that Rs 23 crore had already been paid by the mill and remaining amount could not be paid as cooperative bank officials were resorting to delaying tactics, Haryana additional advocate general Sandeep Moudgil told the high court.