The issue of unpaid sugarcane dues has gained fresh political importance. With the sugarcane belt falling in western UP, which has become a key region in the raging farmers’ agitation against three central farm laws, and opposition leaders vociferously invoking the issue, an unchanged cane price could spell further trouble for the government a month before the panchayat polls and a year before the assembly election.
The rates for common and advanced varieties of sugarcane was kept unchanged in a recent meeting at Rs 315 and Rs 325 per quintal respectively. Sugarcane farmers in UP have owed Rs 10,174 crore until September last year and the amount has swelled to nearly Rs 13,000 crore.
“During the BSP rule between 2007 and 2012, Rs 52,131 crore worth sugarcane dues had been paid while in the SP rule between 2012 and 2017, Rs 95,215 crore worth sugarcane dues had been disbursed. During the combined 10 years’ rule of both the governments, Rs 1,47,346 crore worth dues were paid while the current Yogi Adityanath government has already paid Rs 1,22,251 crore up till now (in nearly four years),” said Suresh Rana, minister for sugarcane development and sugar mills in the state.
Rana said the BJP government has achieved this success despite surplus stocks of sugar with mills and an internationally subdued sugar price. He said it was due to the current regime’s efforts that 20 sugar mills shuttered between 2007 and 2017, were started by the BJP government while 11 private mills expanded their capacities.