As per the order by Allahabad High Court, the mill owners have to pay Rs 1814.67 crore with interest by January 31. The amount of interest included in the payment is in tune with Rs 150 crore.  While the farmers are not ready to accept pending dues sans interest, the Opposition parties seem geared up to launch a protest over the issue.

According to the data as on January 15, the total arrears have mounted to Rs 3853.53 crore for the last two crushing seasons. The selling price of sugarcane is also on the rise this year. The private sugar mills have to pay Rs 1852.87 crore alone and corporation sugar mills have an outstanding amount of Rs 149.63 crore.

Bearing the brunt of decreasing prices of sugar, the mill owners have written to the state government asking to relieve them from paying the interest on the amount. They have opined that paying interest is not necessary, adding that the cane commissioner can use its powers under section 17(3) and take necessary steps in this direction. The mill owners have also said that the interest cannot be paid as the industry is going through crises at present.

Centre too fails to provide relief

The proposal by the government to allow sugar industry availing interest-free loans to the tune of Rs 6,600 crore from banks for payments to cane growers has not been implemented as of now. It would take 2-3 weeks to implement the proposal given by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

Under these circumstances, the mill owners would not be able to pay arrears to the tune of Rs 1814.67 crore to the farmers. The trouble for mill owners would also mount once the amount of interest is added to it. However, it must be noted that earlier, Chief Standing Counsel Ramesh Upadhyay had submitted in the High Court that the pending dues will be paid to the farmers in three weeks’ time.

On the other side, Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan Convenor VM Singh is geared up to launch agitation against the state government, if payment is not made by January 31.

JPN/Bureau

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