Cane crushing starts, growers await last year’s dues - ECAS Punjab

Cane crushing starts, growers await last year’s dues

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Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 23

The cane season in Punjab has begun, but without the state advised price (SAP) being announced by the government and without the dues of growers being cleared for the last year's crushing season.

As farmers begin to get their cane to sugar mills, both private and cooperative, they are accepting their cane for crushing without committing to the price at which they accept cane. For the past three years cane has been bought by sugar mills at Rs 295- Rs 310 per quintal as the state government has not increased the SAP.

This time round, farmers are demanding an increase in the SAP of cane to at least Rs 360 per quintal as Haryana has raised the SAP to Rs 350 per quintal. Jangveer Singh, a cane grower from Tanda, told The Tribune that the prices of sugar were hovering at Rs 3,400 per quintal and were unlikely to fall even in the wake of high production as the Centre had allowed the use of sugar to make ethanol. "Thus farmers should get a better price for their produce," he said. Farmers are also angry that 14 of the 16 sugar mills (nine cooperative and five private) are yet to release their last season dues. While five private sugar mills owe Rs 132 crore, cooperative mills collectively owe Rs 118 crore to the farmers.

Sources in the Agriculture Department said among the private mills, Phagwara mill alone owed Rs 73.50 crore, while the one at Keeri Afghans owed Rs 37 crore to farmers. The mills at Amloh and Dasua have cleared their dues. "We have initiated the recovery proceedings against defaulters, including the owners of the Phagwara mill. Other than this, all others have assured that they will clear pending payments within 10 days," said a senior officer.



from The Tribune https://ift.tt/36Zy7kk

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