Sugarcane farmers in trouble as mills not clearing dues
Despite the Union government announcing Rs 5.5 per quintal relief to sugarmills that procured sugarcane at the State Advisory Prices (SAP), thousands of farmers associated with the private mills are in the lurch as they claim that the private mills have not made their payments of around Rs 200 crore.
Saraswati Sugar Mill (SSM), Yamunanagar and Piccadilly Sugar Mill in Bhadson, Karnal, are yet to clear dues of farmers for sugarcane purchased in April and May and the delay in the disbursement of the payments is costing the farmers heavily.
With the paddy transplantation going on, the farmers say that it has become difficult for them to make ends meet. “The mills are not paying us since the past two-and-a-half month and we have no money to nurture the crop. Also, our problems and complaints are falling on deaf ears and there is nobody to address our grievances,” said farmer Madan Pal of Yamunanagar, whose payments of over Rs 3 lakh is stuck with the SSM Yamunanagar.
“We need money for our crop and admission of children. We are being forced to borrow money from commission agents at high interest rates,” he added.
As per the figures, SSM Yamunanagar had crushed 1.77 crore quintal of sugarcane and owes Rs 132 crore to farmers. Piccadilly Sugar Mill has crushed 70 lakh quintal and the payments of around Rs 70 crore were pending with the mill.
As the mills did not announce any date to clear the dues of the farmers, now, the Bhartiya Kisan Union has decided to start an agitation against the mills and government. “We have called a meeting on June 23 at Badshon sugarmill and will decide the further strategy there,” BKU state president Gurnam Singh Chaduni said.
Haryana Sugarfed chairman Chander Prakash Kathuria said that efforts being made so that the farmers could get their pending payments at the earliest.
Earlier, the sugarmills claimed that they were facing financial crises as the prices of sugar had declined to Rs 2,800 per quintal but now the prices again improved to Rs 3,600 but still they were not ready to clear the dues and were waiting for more assistance from the state government.
The private mills had stopped paying the farmers soon after the Union government made an announcement of providing Rs 5.5 per quintal relief on sugarcane sold to the mills.
However, they had claimed that the announced aid was insufficient as the prices of sugar have fallen from Rs 4,200 per quintal to Rs 2,700 per quintal over the past year. Also, the SAP of Rs 330 per quintal was highest in the country, they said.
The mills had also written to the state government seeking compensation of Rs 10 per quintal.
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