SAP tus­sle: 2 pvt sug­armills un­will­ing to start crush­ing as per govt plan

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - HTPUNJAB - Neeraj Mo­han

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.

FARM­ERS WOR­RIED

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.

HT

Farm­ers as­so­ci­ated with the two pri­vate sug­armills are wor­ried as the mills crush nearly 40% of sug­ar­cane pro­duced in the state.

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