Sugarcane dues: more mills face action in Uttar Pradesh

After booking the management of a sugar mill in Lakhimpur Kheri on charges of “financial exploitation” of cane farmers, FIRs have been lodged against at least five other mills in Uttar Pradesh for not paying farmers their dues despite directions by the Government.

While three cases were lodged against mills in Shamli, another was lodged in neighbouring Baghpat district in west U.P., where farmers and farm outfits have been staging a dharna against the three farm laws and for a guaranteed minimum support price law as well as pending cane payments. A second FIR was lodged in Lakhimpur Kheri, the district in the Terai often dubbed the “sugar bowl”.

The district cane officer of Baghpat said an FIR was lodged against the Malakpur Sugar Mill for dues of ₹248 crore.

Financial exploitation

The managers of the Bajaj Hindusthan Sugar mill in Palia in Lakhimpur Kheri district were booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust for not paying dues of over ₹266 crore to the farmers. The mill was accused of “financial exploitation” of farmers, fraud and fuelling “discontent” among them by not paying them their dues for a year.

A second FIR was lodged against a sugar mill in Gola in the same district on the complaint of a BJP MLA Arvind Giri.

The FIRs were also lodged against the Oon, Thana Bhawan and Shamli sugar mills in Shamli district, district cane officer Vijay Bahadur Singh said.

They were lodged under IPC Section 420 and Sections 3 and 7 of The Essential Commodities Act.

While the Shamli mill owed farmers ₹69 crore, Oon owed ₹43 crore and Thana Bhawan ₹144 crore, Mr. Singh told The Hindu .

In Shamli, the cases were lodged against G.K. Sharma, occupier of the Shamli mill, Ranaveer Pratap Singh, occupier of the Oon mill and Veerpal Singh, occupier of the Thana Bhawan mill, said Sanjay R. Bhoosreddy, Cane and Sugar Commissioner.

Mr. Bhoosreddy said cane price payment was the top priority of the Government. “Regular monitoring is being done at regional and headquarters level of the same and regional & district cane officers have been directed to take strictest action against the negligent sugar mills in payment,” he said.

If the mills do not show the required speed in making the payments, then action will be ensured against them, he said.

“Re-allocation of cane area of defaulter sugar mills can also be considered and issuing recovery certificate and FIR can be lodged against such sugar mills.”

Farmers in Palia and Gola have been staging protests against the mills for non-payment of dues, forcing even the BJP legislators to seek remedial measures.

BJP MLA’s emotional video

On Monday, BJP MLA from Palia Harvinder Sahni, who recently released an emotional video requesting Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to ensure payment of dues, met the Commissioner here.

Mr. Sahni said he informed the official that it was a “priority” for him that the farmers were paid their money soon.

The MLA admitted he was under “pressure” from farmers. “How will I go to my constituency,” he asked.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2022 12:43:03 am |