Pilibhit: With sugarcane crushing season for 2021-22 coming to an end, all the 120 sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh have closed down but 82 of them are yet to clear dues to the tune of Rs 8,298 crore, according to records accessed in the state sugarcane department on June 6. Of the 82 sugar mills, 55 are in the private sector, 24 are owned by cooperatives and three are owned by the UP Sugar mill Corporation. The biggest defaulter is the privately-owned Bajaj Group that runs 14 sugar mills in the state and accounts for 38.5% share of the pending dues at Rs 3,200 crore.
The records reveal that 17 sugar mills in Meerut sugarcane division owe farmers Rs 2211.53 crore. In Saharanpur division, 17 sugar mills are yet to pay Rs 1875.63 crore. At the bottom of the list are five sugar mills of Ayodhya sugarcane division that have to pay Rs 94.45 crore to the cane farmers. Asked about the poor payment position of the Bajaj Group mills, additional chief secretary, sugarcane and sugar industry, government of UP, Sanjay R Bhoosreddy said, “We cannot afford the closure of Bajaj Group mills as they crush one-seventh of the total procured sugarcane in the state.”
Explaining, he said the Bajaj Group had taken huge loans from banks for restructuring of its mills. “The group is bound to pay the bank instalments first or else the latter will bring its sugar mills within the ambit of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and take charge of both fixed and liquid assets of the mills. If banks liquidate the mill assets to raise their loan, the farmers may lose their payment of the cane price,” said Bhoosreddy. No one from Bajaj Group was available for comment on the matter.