SAP tussle: 2 pvt sugarmills unwilling to start crushing as per govt plan
Karnal:thousands of sugarcane growers in the state are worried the as private sugarmills are reluctant to start the crushing as per the government schedule.
As per information, all cooperative sugarmills in the state are scheduled to start the crushing operations from November 13, but the two private sugarmills — Saraswati Sugar Mill of Yamunanagar and Piccadilly Sugar Mill in Bhadson, Karnal — are not ready to purchase sugarcane at the state advisory prices (SAP) and are demanding from the government to compensate the mills and bear the cost above the fair remunerative prices (FRP).
PVT MILLS SEEK COMPENSATION
SC Sachdeva, chief operating officer of Saraswati Sugar Mill, Yamunanagar, said, “We have already taken up this issue in a meeting of Sugarcane Control Board and agriculture minister OP Dhankar gave us assurance of aid over the gap between SAP and FRP, but we did not get any confirmation in this regard.”
“We have not even started the bonding process yet and will not start crushing if the government fails to give its written assurance on our demand,” he added.
Similarly, officials of the Piccadilly Sugar Mill said they had already suggested a formula to bridge the gap between SAP and FRP and they could not run the factory if their demand was not accepted.
The development has worried thousands of farmers associated with these private sugar mills as the mills crush nearly 40% of total sugarcane produced in the state. “Due to the delay, we would not be able to empty the fields for sowing of wheat on time, and this would cost the farmers heavily,” said Satish Kumar, a farmer of Yamunanagar district.
The farmers are also demanding the government to come out with a permanent solution of this problem as they allege that the private mills blackmail the government by causing losses to farmers every year.
GOVT CONSIDERING ₹10 HIKE IN SAP
The mill officials said, “Last year, the government had paid ₹16 per quintal to private sugarmills for the purchase of entire crushed sugarcane after the prices of the sugar had reported a fall of about ₹8 per kg. This time, the sugarmills have made it clear that they were unable to pay more than ₹290 per quintal for sugarcane.”
Meanwhile, government officials familiar with the matter confirmed that the government was planning to increase the SAP by ₹10 per quintal, taking it to ₹340, ₹335 and ₹330 respectively for early, mid and lateral varieties, during this election year.
‘FARMERS INTEREST NOT TAKE CARE OF’
When contacted, sugarcane farmers’ leader Satpal Kaushik accused the government of not taking any step to protect the interest of the farmers. “The cane control board meeting was called only to sip tea and eat snacks as they did not take any decision regarding the crushing schedule and the SAP,” he said.
Haryana Sugarfed chairman Chander Prakash Kathuria said, “We are sure that the private mills will start crushing from November 20 and the government would consider to compensate the mills, which have already cleared their pending payments.”
ANOTHER TOUGH YEAR FOR SUGARCANE FARMERS
The coming year seems difficult for sugarcane farmers as last year, they had to hold protests to get their payments from the private sugarmills. Reportedly, the Piccadilly Sugarmill did not clear the payments of the farmers, forcing them to hold indefinite protest at the main entrance of the mill.
This year again, the sugarcane growers may face this problem if the issue between the government and private mills is not sorted soon.
Farmers associated with the two private sugarmills are worried as the mills crush nearly 40% of sugarcane produced in the state.