Sugar mills owed farmers as much as Rs 10,541 crore as of July 15 for cane purchases, as realisation from sugar sales remained low, food minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Tuesday. The outstanding amount is about 18.5% of the total amount payable to cane farmers in the current sugar season, Paswan told the Lok Sabha. However, mills and co-operatives paid as much as R46,426.51 crore until July 15, he added.
Not surprisingly, mills in UP led the pack with arrears worth R6,737 crore, or 64%, followed by Karnataka (R1,836.59 crore), Tamil Nadu (R638.33 crore) and Bihar (R425.62 crore), according to food ministry data. The total cane arrears were as high as R11,000 crore until end-May.
While UP has stipulated that mills should make payment within 14 days of purchasing cane, the mills are yet to pay farmers even more than two months after the crushing season was over. "The governments of UP, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Haryana, Maharashtra, Telangana, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab have informed that they have taken action against the defaulting sugar mills as per law," the minister said.