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UP govt releases funds to pay off cane dues to Bajaj group

Pilibhit: The state government on Tuesday released an amount of Rs 1,371 crore to Bajaj group of sugar mills to clear cane dues of its 14 sugar mills, operational in UP, attributed to the previous cane crushing season.

UP cane commissioner Prabhu N Singh, said, “The amount was due to be paid by the state to Bajaj group towards the ‘power’ generated by the mills and supplied to UP power corporation Ltd.”

“The group management has been directed to utilize the released fund in transferring the outstanding cane dues directly to the bank accounts of the cane growers first and then to use the remaining amount, if any, in the mills,” Singh added.

As per Singh, the released amount is enough to write off the cane dues. The step has been taken in view of the festive season and the forthcoming crushing season of sugar mills for the year 2023-24.

Earlier, minister of state for sugarcane and sugar industry, Sanjay Gangwar, said, “Of the 14 sugar mills of Bajaj group, an amount of Rs 98 crore was given to Gangnauli mill, Rs 142 crore to Shamli mill, Rs 112 crore to Bhasana mill, Rs 180 crore to Kinauni mill, Rs 90 crore to Bilai mill, Rs 93 crore to Barkhera mill, Rs 68 crore to Maksudapur mill, Rs 185 crore to Gola mill, Rs 157 crore to Palia mill, Rs 82 crore to Khambarkhera mill, Rs 82 crore to Kunderki mill, Rs 37 crore to Balrampur mill, Rs 35 crore to Rudauli mill and Rs 10 crore to Devaria mill.”

In Pilibhit, the Barkhera sugar mill owed Rs 78.82 crore to cane growers as on October 30. The mill was transferred a sum of Rs 93 crore.
Sugar mills in south Maharashtra, including Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, and Solapur districts, will start crushing sugar canes from Wednesday. However, apart from the mills in Kolhapur district, no other mills have announced the price to be paid to the farmers. The mills in Kolhapur are offering a price equal to the fair and remunerative price (FRP) declared by the central government. The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana has urged farmers not to rush to the mills and to negotiate a fair deal, as there is a shortage of sugar cane this season.
The Saraswati Sugar Mills in Yamunanagar, India, has started its crushing operation for the 2023-24 season earlier than usual, much to the satisfaction of local sugarcane farmers. The mill is known for its efficient functioning and timely payment of farmers. However, the farmers are frustrated with the lack of increase in sugarcane prices and the delayed announcement of prices by the state government. They are demanding an increase to Rs 450 per quintal. Despite this, farmers are grateful for the early start of operations, as it allows them to sow wheat on time. The mill aims to crush 175 lakh quintals of sugarcane this year.
Kumari Selja, General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee, has called for a thorough investigation into fraudulent practices by rice millers in the procurement of paddy. Selja alleges that rice millers have been procuring cheap rice from Uttar Pradesh and avoiding market fees, resulting in losses worth millions. She also claims that some officials associated with purchase agencies are involved in the fraud. Selja highlights that such scams have been occurring regularly without any strong action being taken, and calls for physical verification of rice mill stocks to uncover the truth.
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