14 January, 2023 – Sangrur : The alleged delay in releasing payment to sugarcane growers of Sangrur and Malerkotla has compelled them to shift back to the paddy-wheat cycle, resulting in further reduction in area under the crop in the districts.
According to farmers, Rs 40.69 lakh dues for 2020-21 have been pending towards private sugar mills of Dhuri. As for the current financial 2022-23, Rs 12.85 core are pending. The mill authorities have purchased sugarcane worth Rs 26.69 crore this fiscal and paid Rs 13.84 crore to the growers.
The dues for the 2021-22 fiscal have been cleared.
The details of payment, released by the state government yesterday, show the Dhuri mills have released all dues amounting to Rs 36.09 crore for 2021-22, while the government has released Rs 3.46 crore.
Farmers, however, have a different story to tell. Harjeet Singh, president of the sugarcane growers’ committee, Dhuri, said: “Sugarcane growers have received part of the dues now for the produce sold last year. As per rules, the payment should be released within 14 days of selling the produce. The delay in payment has forced many to shift back to the wheat-paddy cycle. The lack of government support will compel more farmers to give up sugarcane farming.”
In the past few years, the area under sugarcane farming has been declining. In 2017-18, 3,810 hectares were under sugarcane in Sangrur and Malerkotla districts.
The area went down to 3,462 hectares in 2018-19, further declining to 2,559 hectares in the subsequent year.
In 2020-21, the sugarcane area reduced to 2,143 hectares.
The following year, it fell to 1,665 hectares — a decline of 56.3 per cent in five years.
Sugarcane Development Officer Jaswinder Singh admitted that the delay in payment had been discouraging growers, but claimed that the authorities were them will all possible help. “Whenever there is a delay in the payment, we immediately take up the matter with the higher-ups,” Jaswinder added.
Courtesy : The Tribune