Sugar mill managers booked for cheating farmers in U.P.

The managers of a sugar mill in Uttar Pradesh’s cane-rich Lakhimpur Kheri district have been booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust for not paying dues of over ₹266 crore to sugarcane farmers. The mill was accused of “financial exploitation” of farmers, fraud and fuelling “discontent” among farmers by not paying them their dues pending for a year.

The FIR was registered against three officials of Bajaj Hindusthan Sugar Limited mill in Palia under Sections 120B, 420 and 406 of the IPC and Sections 3 and 7 of The Essential Commodities Act. A spokesperson for the Cane Department confirmed that an FIR had been lodged and further action would be taken as per the laws governing the supply and purchase of sugarcane.

The FIR lodged on the complaint of Rajesh Kumar Singh, Special Secretary of the Cane Department (Palia), names three persons — manager of the mill (adhyasee) Pradeep Salar, finance manager Manoj Kumar Mishra and general manager sugarcane Sunil Kumar Dhingra.

According to the FIR, the mill had started the “crushing” work for the last season on November 11, 2020. Till March 25, 2021 it purchased 120.60 lakh quintals valued at ₹387.1 crore as per the recommended government rate. However, it paid only ₹120.99 crore and despite sending it several notices, the mill deliberately did not pay the dues, said Mr. Singh in his complaint.

Farmers have been staging a dharna demanding their dues, due to which the mill has not been able to operate for the 2021-2022 crushing season. The non-payment apart from tarnishing the image of the Cane Department has also created a law and order situation, said Mr. Singh.

Strict instructions

On November 26, Commissioner of Cane And Sugar Sanjay R. Bhoosreddy had said strict instructions had been given to the mills for speedy cane price payment for the current crushing season. The farmers had already been paid ₹553.26 crore against the due price of ₹510.20 crore for 2021-2022, which is ₹43.06 crore more than the due, Mr. Bhoosreddy said.

Under the season, 92 sugar mills had started operation — 74 each in private and cooperative sectors and one in the corporation sector. Nine of the 14 mills of the Bajaj Group had started crushing work, Mr. Bhoosreddy said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 11:44:31 PM |

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