Other States

Country’s top corporates owe U.P. farmers Rs. 6,000 crore

Several sugarcane farmers in Uttar Pradesh have committed suicide as they are yet to get more than Rs. 6,000 crore owed to them by some of the country’s top corporates for this crop season alone.

The corporate houses that owe the State’s farmers money include Bajaj, Birla, Modi group and the liquor baron Ponty Chaddha-led Wave group. These private defaulters, which own 40 of the 103 sugarcane mills, have left the farmers in a state of crisis.

Highest in country

According to an Uttar Pradesh Cane Development department document accessed by The Hindu, the figures of arrears the industrialists owe the State’s farmers are the highest in the country.

The top defaulter is Bajaj group which is yet to pay Rs. 1598 crore to the farmers. The Mawana group, which owns three mills in the State, has defaulted on the payment of Rs. 524 crore. The Birla group, which owns five mills, owes Rs. 376.5 crore, the Modi group, with two sugar mills owes Rs. 406 crore.

The Yadu group, owned by U.P. strongman D.P. Yadav has defaulted on payment of Rs. 50 crore. The Dalmiya group which owns three mills is yet to pay Rs. 94.3 crore. There are 20 others in the list with smaller outstanding amounts.

Senior officials of the Cane Development department told The Hindu that the officials will soon initiate action against the top defaulters.

A senior office-bearer of the Sugar Mill Owners Association said, on condition of anonymity, that the “government needs to seriously look at the crisis in the sugar industry and reward those who pay the farmers even in this crisis.”

“There is no dispute that the private sugar mill owners owe more than Rs 6,000 crore as arrears but frankly, the industry is going through a big crisis. Due to the decreasing sugar prices we are unable to recover the money from the market. So, we are just not in a position to pay Rs. 240 per quintal,” he said.

Sudhir Panwar, a farmer expert argued that farmers have not got even a fourth of the price of the sugarcane they sold to these private players.

‘Control sugar prices’

“The Central government needs to control the sugar prices which are continuously falling. When Modi addressed the rally in Meerut ahead of the parliamentary election last year, he raised the issue but he is yet to do any thing. The Centre abolished its control on the sugar market because of which the prices are continuously going down,” Mr. Sudhir Panwar added.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 6:59:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/countrys-top-corporates-owe-up-farmers-rs-6000-crore/article7287537.ece

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