With sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh piling up cane arrears of over Rs 3,836 crore for 2016-17, millers are demanding that the state power utility clear their power dues of over Rs 800 crore at the earliest so as to enable them to pay off their cane dues.
In a representation to chief minister Yogi Adityanath, the industry has brought the issue to his notice and stated that despite his advise to concerned officials on April 19 that power dues should be cleared as per the contractual obligations, the industry has still not received any payment against the power dues. The last payment was received on March 30 this year and bills up to December 2016 only have been settled, thus leaving a balance outstanding of four months, i.e. January to April 2017.
“Now that the crushing season is almost over and most of the mills have paid cane price for the supplies up to April end, in all fairness we request that our power dues are also cleared,” said a miller, requesting anonymity.
It may be mentioned that as of today, the Uttar Pradesh sugar mills owe Rs 3,836 crore to farmers on account of cane price. And the power dues till April amount to approximately Rs 800 crore.
Of those who are yet to pay cane dues, the biggest defaulter groups are Bajaj Hindusthan, which owes Rs 2,176 crore, a whopping 55% of the dues followed by the Modi group, which owes Rs 433 crore, Suimbhaoli Sugars, which owes Rs 294 crore, Mawana Sugars, which owes Rs 222 crore, Rana group, which owes `82 crore, Uttam Sugars, which owes Rs 72 crore and Yadu group, which owes Rs 23 crore. Apart from these, all other groups have paid more than 100%.
Among the single mills which owe money to the farmers are Shamli, which owes Rs 108 crore, Aira, which owes Rs 84 crore, Captainganj, which owes Rs 32 crore, Nawabganj, which owes Rs 22 crore and Gadaura, which owes Rs 3.4 crore. When contacted, an official of UPPCL admitted that it owed approximately `800 crore for power dues to the sugar mills but said that it was wrong of the mills to state that it was only power dues that was hampering their cane payments.
“Yes, the UPPCL owes approximately Rs 800 crore to the mills and as per our contractual obligations as per the PPA, we should clear dues within 60 days of buying power. But we have not been able to clear anyone’s dues for over four months now. We last paid the sugar mills their power dues in March and are awaiting the government’s subsidy to UPPCL for the months of April and May.
The moment we get the subsidy, we will start paying everyone, including the sugar mills,” he said. He, however, added that while it was true that the UPPCL has not made payments of Rs 800 crore to the sugar industry, the mills were trying to build up a false case for not paying farmers their cane dues.