By August 5, the government of Uttar Pradesh has cleared 75% of sugarcane dues between October 1, 2020, to August 5, 2021, reported Times of India. A total of approx Rs.26,000 crores has been paid in the 2020-21 crushing season. Additional Rs.7,000 crores will be paid to the sugarcane farmers to complete the payment process for the season. Though sugar consumption has reduced in recent times due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UP Govt has made a record disbursement of funds to clear the dues in the season.
As per the Times of India report, Sanjay Bhoosreddy, additional chief secretary (cane development), said that the department took several measures to ensure on-time payments that included tagging of cane products other than sugar such as bagasse, press mud and molasses. Other than these basic products, ethanol produced from B-heavy molasses or sugarcane juice and sanitiser produced using ethanol were also tagged for the payment of the cane. Interestingly, due to the increased production and sale of ethanol, the cane price also went up.
Escrow account for cane payments
Notably, when the BJP government came to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, they created an escrow account under the supervision of the district cane officer/senior cane development officer. The account is jointly operated by the designated officers and mill representatives. As per the norms, 85% of the money received in this account is earmarked for payments to the farmers. Such regulations resulted in putting a halt to the diversion of funds that are meant for the cane payments.
Bhoosreddy said, “Payment of over Rs 1.40 lakh crore made to around 45 lakh farmers in last four years is the highest in absolute number till date.” He further added that the state government had worked exponentially in the economic interest and all-around development of the farmers across the state.
39 mills cleared 100% payment
There are 120 sugar mills in the state, out of which 93 are privately owned. 23 mills come under the cooperative sector, while the remaining three are operated by UP Sugar Corporation. As per the records, 39 mills have cleared 100% of payment of the current season, while 26 mills have completed 80% of the payments.