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Uttar Pradesh govt clears 75 per cent sugarcane dues with bumper Rs 26,000 crore payout

LUCKNOW: In a decisive outreach to farmers, the Yogi Adityanath government has made a record payout of Rs 26,000crore in cane dues for 2020-21 crushing season, which experts say is a critical move to placate the restive sugar bowl of the west UP, which has been wracked by protests over new farm laws.
Cane development department records accessed by TOI show the payment accounts for 75% dues between October 1, 2020, and August 5, 2021. The state government would have to cough up Rs 7000crore to complete the payment process for the current reason. Record disbursement of cane dues comes despite lower sugar consumption due to the pandemic.
Additional chief secretary (cane development), Sanjay Bhoosreddy told TOI that a host of measures undertaken by the department contributed to the “record” payment, including tagging cane products other than sugar — molasses, bagasse and press mud. Besides, ethanol produced from B-heavy molasses or sugarcane juice and that used for sanitizer production were also tagged for payment of cane price. In fact, cane price payment got accelerated due to an increase in ethanol production and sale. After coming to power in 2017, the BJP government created an escrow account, which was operated jointly by the mill representative and district cane officer/senior cane development inspector. As per rules, 85% money received in the account was kept for farmer payment. This resulted in arresting diversion of money for purposes other than cane payment.
“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,” Bhoosreddy said, adding the state was determined to promote the economic interest and all-round development of cane farmers in the state.
The state has as many as 120 sugar mills, of which 93 are privately owned, 24 in the cooperative sector and three belong to UP Sugar Corporation. Records show 39 mills have made 100% payment for the 2020-21 season, while 26 sugar mills have made 80% cane price payment.

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