Adityanath government asks sugar mill owners to pay arrears to farmers

Lucknow, (IANS): Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has asked sugar mill owners in the state to pay arrears of the previous and current crushing seasons to sugarcane farmers within a month.

The instruction came after a high level meeting on Thursday night.

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“The Chief Minister in a meeting with the Chief Secretary and Sugarcane Commissioner along with other high level officials directed that it should be ensured that sugar mill owners pay all the pending arrears of previous as well as the current crushing season to farmers,” a top official of the Sugarcane Development Department told IANS on condition of anonymity.

Adityanath in the meeting also said that no laxity in this connection would be tolerated.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in its assembly election manifesto had assured the farmers that they would be paid within 14 days after purchase of their sugarcane by the millers.

The official said that a total of Rs 4,160 crore was pending as arrears with sugar mill owners for payment to sugarcane farmers for the current crushing season.

The official said around six sugar mills out of a total 116 have not paid dues to the farmers.

“For the current crushing season (2016-17) total amount to be paid was Rs 20,154 crore, against which Rs 15,996.87 crore has been paid to the farmers. Around 80 per cent payment has been made,” the official added.

Acting on Adityanath’s priorities, the Sugarcane Development Commissioner has issued fresh directions to the millers for payment of arrears within a month.

The official said Rs 223 crore was still not paid to sugarcane farmers for the previous crushing season of 2015-2016. Farmers have been paid Rs 17,780 crore for sugarcane for the previous crushing season.

“The CM also directed officials and sugar mill owners to pay the farmers within the stipulated time of 14 days,” the official added.

The BJP in its election manifesto had promised to waive off loans of farmers in its first cabinet meeting if voted to power.

However, four working days have passed after Adityanath took oath as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and he has also distributed portfolios to his ministers, but no cabinet meeting has been convened.

Sources in the BJP said the government is working on the modalities of farm loan waiver and after the process gets completed the government would take appropriate action in this regard.