Lucknow, March 2 (IANS) Cane growers in Uttar Pradesh have a reason to rejoice because their outstanding payments for past three years have been almost fully paid to them.
The UP Cane Department, in a statement, said that cane purchase dues have been paid fully by the corporations and cooperative sugar mills for 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, while private mills have cleared 99.91 per cent dues for 2016-17, 99.87 per cent for 2017-18 and 98.1 per cent for 2018-19.
However, in the ongoing crushing season, the mills have paid Rs 11,096.90 crore, against total dues of Rs 19,239 crores, with Rs 8,142 crore – around 43 per cent – still pending.
The three corporation mills paid only Rs 71.38 crore against total dues of Rs 248 crore, with Rs 176 crore still outstanding.
Similarly, 24 cooperative mills have still to pay Rs 675 crore, while 92 private mills have still to clear Rs 7,290 crore to farmers.
A senior official of the Cane Department said: “The payment of dues was prioritised to ensure that the pending payments of previous years are cleared. Now, the dues of current season would be taken up.”
UP Sugar Mills Association (UPSMA), meanwhile, said mills are having huge buffer stock which is being sold in open market very slowly. “The sugar stock for festive season has been exhausted, resulting in lowering of prices,” said a UPSMA office-bearer.
Sugar experts said the millers are weighing the options of diverting part of molasses for manufacture of ethanol to meet the financial crunch and generate funds to clear off cane dues to farmers.