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UP sugar mills to face police complaints if they don't pay farmers arrears

Mills owe farmers at least Rs 9,000 crore after end of the crushing season.

Sugar, sugarcane
Uttar Pradesh sugarcane farmers are owed Rs 9,000 crore from mills.

The Uttar Pradesh government has warned private sugar mills it will file police complaints against them and seize properties if they fail to pay farmers for their produce.

Mills owe farmers at least Rs 9,000 crore after end of the crushing season, prompting sugarcane commissioner Sanjay Bhoosreddy to recently ask private companies to ensure immediate payments. So far, more than 71% of total dues had been settled by mills.

The state government has now warned mills they will be booked in police complaints called first information reports (FIR) and get recovery certificates (RC), which authorises a district administration to seize plant and stock for auctioning.

Last month, chief minister Yogi Adityanath had warned private mills to settle their entire outstanding by August 2019.

In the Lok Sabha polls, payment of sugarcane arrears was a key political issue the opposition parties used against the BJP government. Prom payment has eluded the government, although the payment ratios have improved.

As many as 119 sugar mills–94 private, 24 cooperatives and a UP State Sugar Corporation unit–had participated in crushing operations in the 2018-19 crushing cycle.