Taking a grim view of the “social consequences” of non-functioning of most of the private sugar mills and a number of State-owned ones in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday asked the State government to find a “just and equitable solution”.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and Justice Dilip Gupta said, “We hope and trust that the issues will merit consideration at the highest level to arrive at a suitable solution. The Court shall be apprised, on the next date, of the progress which has been made.”

Hearing a public interest litigation of the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, the Court took a serious note of the submission that “68 out of 99 private sugar mills have sent closure notices to the State government on November 19 this year, and another eight mills have sent closure notices on November 20, 2013”.

“It is also stated that distress sale of sugarcane is taking place in various parts of the State due to non-functioning of the mills,” the Court observed with alarm. It also said, “The State government must take serious stock of the situation and to the social consequences which are likely to result. A just and equitable solution would have to be found in respect of the issues by giving them the highest priority.”

It also expressed displeasure over the fact that arrears of about “Rs.2,300 crore exclusive of interest” remained payable to cane growers by State-run and private sugar mills. The Court has fixed December 3 as the next date of hearing. - PTI