A delegation of top sugar millers in Uttar Pradesh called on chief minister Yogi Adityanath here on Wednesday and promised to further invest in the industry in a big way in coming years. Appraising him of the industry’s situation, the delegation, which consisted of Vivek Saraogi of Balrampur Chini, Ashok Goel of Dhampur Sugar, Aditya Jhunjhunwala of K M Sugar, Madhav Sriram of Daurala, R L Tamak of DSCL, C B Patodia, president of UPSMA and Deepak Guptara, secretary, UPSMA, also extended the industry’s support in fulfiling the BJP’s promise in the manifesto to empower the farmers and double their incomes. In fact, soon after taking oath of office, Yogi had stressed his government’s commitment to doubling farm incomes and promised facilitating the opening of new sugar mills.
The meeting which took place under the aegis of the Uttar Pradesh Sugar Millers Association (UPSMA), said in its representation to the chief minister (a copy of which is with FE), that the sugar industry, through its 116 sugar mills, is the backbone of the UP’s economy and it supports nearly 40 lakh farmers and 2 lakh labourers by paying them approximately `22,500 crore to the farmers in the form of cane price.
The delegation also stated that the 65 mills which are members of UPSMA have already cleared 95% of their cane dues and some mills have, in fact, cleared 100% of their dues. Drawing the chief minister’s attention of the challenges plaguing the industry, the delegation said that the time is ripe for developing a just and practical cane pricing policy based on economic logic, which can ensure that the industry is able to make timely cane payments and the farmers, too, get their fair and remunerative cane payments on time. This will also ensure that the mills get bank loans easily, it said. The delegation also called for an end to reservation policy of molasses and said de-reservation is the need of the hour.
“The present reservation policy transfers the sugar industry’s revenue to the country liquor industry, which adversely impacts our cane payments,” the memorandum said, adding that if molasses are de-reserved, the farmers could be the ones to benefit the most as the industry would be in a better position to make cane payments on time.
It may be mentioned that the UP Excise Policy stipulates that 25% of molasses be reserved for the country liquor industry.
Apart from this, the delegation also said that the sugar industry contributes almost 1,000 MW power to the state grid during the sugar season and stressed on the need for timely payment of power dues from the UPPCL, which can go a long way in clearing farmers’ payments.
Speaking to FE, Vivek Saraogi, managing director of Balrampur Chini said that the chief minister promised his government’s full support to the industry and also asked the industry to work without any apprehension. “The chief minister has an amazing insight into the grassroot realities of the sugar sector and he underscored the point that farmers are his first priority.
“He also said that if farmers are to prosper, it is important that the industry too prospers.
In fact, he has asked us to go all out and hand-hold farmers and empower them by providing them with high quality cane varieties and other modern facilities. He has also asked us to further invest in the sugar sector and assured us that he will personally ensure that our difficulties are taken care of,” he said.
“After meeting him, we are instilled with a huge confidence and we have already started planning cane development activities in a big way for next year’s sugar season,” he said, adding that setting up more sugar mills is a way of allievating rural poverty. “On our part, we have assured the chief minister that we will put our best foot forward and are sure that UP’s sugar industry will make huge progress and push the state’s GDP in a big way,” he stated.
Speaking to FE, another representative, who wished to remain anonymous said that Wednesday’s meeting was a courtesy call and the industry was hopeful that a turnaround is likely, which would benefit all the stakeholders.
“There is also possibility of fresh investment coming to the sector if conducive policies are farmed to attract investment,” he said.