Qadian Congress MLA and former head of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Partap Singh Bajwa, wrote to Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday and asked him to issue instructions to state officials to pay the pending dues from state sugar cane growers as soon as possible. .
“I wish to bring to your kind attention the pending payments to Punjab sugar cane growers which constitute a violation of the provisions of Section 15 A of the Punjab Sugar Cane Act 1953 (Regulations of the Purchasing and Supply) and the Sugar Cane Control Ordinance 1966,” Bajwa wrote in the letter, adding that,
“The 2021-22 cane growing season is almost over in Punjab. Most of the sugar mills have closed because the crushing of sugar cane is over. The few that remain open will likely finish grinding within the next 10-15 days.
He underlined the following point: “It has been brought to my attention that the cooperative sugar factories have not been able to release even 50% of the total dues due to the farmers. The Cooperative Mills dues as of March 18, 2022 are Rs 280.7 crore. Likewise, there are still unpaid dues of Rs 513 crore to be paid by private sugar mills to farmers. I would like to mention here that Dhuri Sugar Mills which falls under your constituency has yet to release Rs 85 lakh dues to sugar cane growers for the 2020-21 season and Rs 19 crore for the 2021-22 season.
The former MP for Rajya Sabha further wrote, “Punjab has announced an increase in the SAP (State Advisory Price) for sugar cane to Rs 360 per quintal for the 2021-2022 season from the earlier rate of Rs 310 per quintal. The government has also agreed to share Rs 35 per quintal with private sugar factories. It has come to my attention that these payments have not been made due to the need to update the Aadhaar numbers and bank account numbers of the sugar cane growers.
“A copy of this information is available with each sugar mill as payments have so far been made only by bank transfer. Therefore, implementing a workable system should not take long.
This delay due to the negligence of officials created Rs 130 crore of unpaid dues. I believe the previous government had already allocated Rs 140 crore for this purpose. You are requested to instruct government officials to make the above payments to sugar cane growers as soon as possible. Any further delay in payments will only increase the economic distress faced by Punjab sugarcane farmers,” Bajwa wrote.