Uttar Pradesh govt owes sugarcane farmers in the state ₹3,752 crore for 2020-21

Farmers in UP are disgruntled with the govt because the State Advised Price (SAP) was increased only in 2021 after four years. Even the increased SAP doesn’t maintain the cost of input for the farmers

Uttar Pradesh govt owes sugarcane farmers in the state ₹3,752 crore for 2020-21

Ashlin Mathew

Uttar Pradesh government owes sugarcane farmers in the state ₹3,752 crore for the previous financial year 2020-21 and the government claims that all the dues the previous two financial years have been cleared, according to a response to a query in the Lok Sabha. The new crushing season began in October 2021.

Uttar Pradesh farmers are owed the maximum dues in the country. Of the payable, ₹33,014 crore, ₹29,262 crore has reportedly been paid according to the responses given to Mangaluru BJP MP Nalin Kumar Kateel and Mandya independent MP Sumalatha Ambareesh. The Union government stated that they have obtained the data from the state governments.

In September 2021, the Uttar Pradesh government claimed that it cleared over 84% dues of nearly 45 lakh farmers. The total amount given to the cane farmers in the past four years is approximately ₹1,42,650 crore, a cane development department release had stated.

After the cane crushing season, the department stated that as many as 120 sugar mills procured 1,028 lakh tons of sugarcane worth ₹33,025 crore for FY 21. The season had begun in October 2020 and ended in early July 2021.

Slamming the delay in payment of sugarcane dues, Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary asserted that with the non-payment of these dues, BJP and the Yogi government have no poll plank left as farmers will not trust them. In August 2021, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) had protested at the cane offices of various districts seeking immediate release of the payments due to sugarcane farmers.

“This is an admission in Parliament of the failure of the Yogi Adityanath government to meet its own promises to the farmers of the state. BJP had promised payment of sugarcane dues within 14 days, after which interest for each day of delay would be paid. Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored how remunerative pricing wasn’t available to Uttar Pradesh farmers and he alluded that farmers should be given more than ₹400. The current state advised price (SAP) doesn’t maintain the cost of input for the farmers,” explained Chaudhary. He questioned what BJP and Yogi Adityanath would promise the farmers again before elections.

In February 2021, Uttar Pradesh cabinet had decided to maintain the state advised price (SAP) of sugarcane at ₹315 per quintal for the common variety, which accounts for more than half of the total sugarcane produce. The price was the same the year before too. In Uttar Pradesh, private and cooperative mills buy cane from farmers at prices fixed by the government and both have been unable to pay their dues on time.

The farmers in Uttar Pradesh are disgruntled with the state government because the SAP has not been increased for four years. In September 2021, eyeing elections, the Ajay Bisht government raised the support price of sugarcane by ₹25 per quintal. The sugarcane price is now ₹340 per quintal for common varieties and ₹350 for early varieties.

The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has demanded the Yogi government fix the sugarcane price at ₹425 a quintal. BJP’s Pilibhit MP Varun Gandhi had also asked the state government to increase the price to ₹400 per quintal.

In August 2021, the Supreme Court sought responses from the union government and 11 states on a Public Interest Litigation filed by agriculturists on behalf of farmers who are awaiting nearly ₹20,000 crore from sugar mills.

Notices had been issued to Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Gujarat, Bihar, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and four major sugar mills/associations - Bajaj Hindustan Sugar Ltd, cane Agro Energy (India) Ltd, Indian Sugar Mills Association and Indian Sucrose Ltd. The case is still pending in the Supreme Court.

What other states owe their sugarcane farmers?

Maharashtra government which had to pay ₹32,145 crore to sugarcane farmers, have released ₹31,751 crore; only ₹394 crore remains to be disbursed. This is followed by Chhattisgarh, which has to pay ₹64 crore, Haryana with ₹63 crore, Uttarakhand ₹52 core, Gujarat ₹44 crore, Andhra Pradesh ₹37 crore, Tamil Nadu ₹25 crore, Punjab ₹9 crore and Bihar owes its sugarcane farmers ₹4 crore.

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Published: 01 Dec 2021, 5:15 PM