PILIBHIT: The sugarcane farmers in UP’s Pilibhit have alleged that they haven’t received due payment for their crops to the extent of Rs 399.20 crore amid the closure of sugar mills in the district for the 2022-23 cane crushing season.
Three of the four sugar mills announced the closure in the district. Of the four mills, two belong to the private sector while the other two cooperative sugar mills are run by the UP cooperative sugar mill federation.
The latest official records of the district cane department updated on the closing of April 25, show that the highest arrears were of Barkhera-based Bajaj mill worth Rs 272.58 crore.
The mill closed on March 26 after farmers declined to supply cane due to its shoddy payment position over the years.
The farmers have slammed the state government for “retracting its promise” of timely payments of cane prices. Manjit Singh, district president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), said, “It is unfortunate that the government failed to keep its commitment to pay interest on late payment of cane price in accordance with the provisions subsumed in UP Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act.”
Meanwhile, the records state that apart from the Bajaj mill, the Bisalpur cooperative sugar mill carried arrears of cane price worth Rs 43.22 crore while Puranpur cooperative sugar mill is yet to pay Rs 44.87 crore to farmers.
Both the cooperative mills closed the cane crushing on April 23.
The LH sugar mill with a crushing capacity of 1.25 lakh quintals of cane per day, which is almost on par with the collective capacity of the remaining three mills, owed farmers Rs 38.53 crore.
The mill announced its closure for the current season on April 30.
The district cane officer, Jitendra Kumar Mishra, said, “The Bajaj sugar mill has so far paid merely 4.22% of the total value of the procured sugarcane as the mill made the last payment of cane price on November 16 last year. The LH sugar mill has cleared 87.09% of its arrears which is the highest in the district.”