Ram Vilas Paswan, the Union food minister, has written to the chief ministers of all major sugar producing states to take strict action against sugar mills which have not paid sugarcane farmers.
Industry estimates show that mills making the sweetener, of which India is the world’s biggest consumer, already owed farmers about Rs 17,000 crore until March-end.
In a strongly worded letter to the sugar producing state governments, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said “I, therefore, seek your intervention to issue strict directions to all sugar mills for immediately clearing cane price arrears of the sugar season 2017-18 and those of earlier years. You may also consider taking necessary action against the defaulter sugar mills where warranted.”
“Some of the mills in your state are still having arrears of sugar farmers for the previous years. Further, the arrears for the current sugar season (2017-18) for all the sugar mills have risen considerably.” He added
According to ministry officials, the letter has been sent to CMs of AP, MP, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Gujarat, Puducherry, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Telangana, Karnataka, UP, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand.