Peeved with the non-cooperative stance of the sugar millers, the Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday adopted a tough stance against them and said it will now “let law take its own course”.
As an extension of this, the government issued recovery notices (RCs) to nine sugar mills that are on the top of last year’s cane price payment defaulters’ list. These include two sugar mills each of Bajaj Hindusthan and Balrampur Chini Mills and one each of Birla, Triveni, Uttam, DSCL and Dalmia groups. “District magistrates of the districts where these mills are located have been instructed to take immediate and strict action against them,” Rahul Bhatnagar, principal secretary, sugar industries and cane development, said on Saturday.
On being asked what the “strict action” would be, Bhatnagar said as per legal provisions, the DMs can recover the cane arrears as land revenue, put occupiers of the mills behind the tehsil lock-up and auction the factory’s assets to pay off the farmers’ arrears along with interest.
“The government has issued RCs to two Bajaj mills – Kinoni Sugar Mill, which has cane arrears of R45.43 crore plus interest, and Kundarki Sugar Mill, which has arrears of R42.87 crore plus interest pending against it. Apart from them, Triveni Engineering’s Khatauli Sugar Mill has R49.44 crore pending against it, while Birla Group’s Seohara Sugar Mill has R42.01 crore pending against it. DSCL Shriram Consolidated’s Ajbapur mill has dues pending to the tune of R40 crore against it, Uttam group’s Sheramau mill has R23.17 crore pending against it, while Dalmia group’s Nigohi mill has R24.94 crore pending against it. Balrampur Chini’s two mills — Guleria and Balrampur — have dues to the tune of R25.02 crore and R37.48 crore cane arrears, respectively, pending against them. The total cane dues are to the tune of R2,300 crore,” he said.
Stating that since this was an economic issue, tied to the lives of millions of farmers, the state government was so far making efforts to get the matter settled amicably, but since the millers had adopted an unjustified stance, the government was forced to take strict action.
When asked whether the state government would also consider appointing receivers at these mills and running them on their own if the millers still did not give in, Bhatnagar said the government is “examining various legal options” in front of it, including this. “We are trying to exhaust the other options before