Coming down heavily on sugar mills for erring on cane payments, the Uttar Pradesh government has got FIRs registered under Section 3/7 of the Essential Commodity Act against six mill owners — including Modi, Mawana, Simbhaoli and Rana groups —and has also started proceedings to get their passports impounded.
UP cane commissioner Vipin Kumar Dwivedi has written to the foreign affairs ministry requesting it to impound the passports of these mill owners, some of who are absconding, so as to force them to return to India or prevent them from leaving the country and clearing the cane price arrears to the farmers.
The mill owners, whose passports are in the process of being impounded, are Umesh Modi of the Modi group, Simran Kaur Mann and Gurpal Singh of Simbhaoli group, Rana Inder Pratap Singh and Rana Karan Pratap Singh of the Rana group and Siddharth Sriram of Mawana group.
Speaking to FE, Dwivedi said that while the two mills of Modi group owe R374.06 crore, Mawana group’s three sugar mills owe R357.95 crore in cane arrears.
The Simbhaoli group’s three sugar mills owe R304.72 crore and the Rana group’s four mills owe R200.65 crore in cane arrears.
Apart from this, the Bajaj group, which has 15 sugar mills in the state, owe R286.78 crore in cane arrears. But since they have cleared almost 90% of their cane dues, the state government has not filed FIRs against the group and neither has it asked for impounding of passports of the group’s owners.
This year, the sugarcane farmers in the state had sold cane worth R18,000 crore to the sugar millers, out of which payment of R16,101.87 crore has already been done, which accounts for almost 89.44% of the total cane dues.
Interestingly, out of the remaining dues of R1,901 crore, five defaulter groups, including Bajaj group, owe a whopping R1,524 crore. “If these groups had not defaulted, we would have achieved around 96%-97% payments,” Dwivedi said.
It may be mentioned that the state government has already directed the police for the immediate arrest of these mill owners.
According to the cane commissioner, police conducted raids on the residence of Umesh Modi (the owner of Modi sugar mills), Simran Kaur and Guru Pal Singh (Simbhaoli group), Inder Pratap Singh and Karan Pratap Singh (Rana group) and Siddharth Sriram (Mawana group).
However, none of the owners have been arrested so far. While Modi is reported to be in London, Inder Pratap is said to be in Uganda.
Dwivedi said that the state government has issued strict directions to get the owners arrested as soon as possible. He said that registered challan have also been issued against nine mills which have been defaulting on payment of dues.
“The district administration has been directed to take action and recover the dues towards the cane growers in the state,” he said.