About Rs 1,147 crore is due to farmers across the country for sugarcane sold to millers in last two seasons, government said today.
The state governments have issued necessary directions to the sugar mills to clear the pending dues and in some cases they have initiated proceedings for its recovery as arrears of land revenue, it said.
"As on November 22, a total of Rs 1,147 crore is outstanding against sugar mills as sugarcane dues of farmers for the sugar season 2014-15 and 2015-16 on FRP (fair and remunerative price) basis," Minister of State for Food C R Chaudhary said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
The central government from time to time is advising state governments at appropriate level to take "strict action" against defaulting mills, he said.
"State governments have informed that they have issued necessary notices/directions to the sugar mills to clear pending cane dues and in some cases they have initiated proceedings for its recovery as arrears of land revenue," he added.
The Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966 stipulates payment of cane price within 14 days of supply, failing which interest at the rate of 15 per cent per annum on amount due for the delayed period beyond 14 days is payable.
The powers for enforcing this provision are delegated and vested with the state governments, the Minister said.
Responding to a query on sugar stock lying in state-run FCI, the Minister said that the FCI has stopped dealing in sugar since May 2013 after deregulation of sugar sector and introduction of a new system for distribution of sugar through the public distribution system.
Sugar production is estimated to have been lower at 25.1 million tonnes in the 2015-16 season (October-September) from 28.3 million tonnes in the previous year. The crushing operation in the current season has begun.
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