Punjab to pay Rs 25 per quintal extra to sugarcane farmers
In the backdrop of sugarcane farmers in the state protesting for the past several days, the Punjab government on Wednesday announced that it will pay Rs 25 per quintal extra to the farmers.
"Ending the stalemate over the issue, the Captain Amarinder Singh government has decided to pay Rs 25 per quintal directly to the sugarcane farmers, and also announced immediate release of Rs 65 crore towards the interest on loans taken by private sugar mill owners to clear pending dues of farmers," a spokesperson for the Chief Minister said here.
The Chief Minister has also directed the private sugar mills to immediately start sugarcane crushing operations, which have already been delayed by over a fortnight.
"The Chief Minister has announced that the state government would pay Rs 25 per quintal on sugarcane to the farmers directly out of the State Assured Price (SAP) of Rs 310 per quintal, while the remaining Rs 285 per quintal would be paid to them by the private sugar mills," the spokesperson said.
The decision was taken by the Chief Minister at a meeting with the owners of the private sugar mills here on Wednesday.
The spokesperson said that the Chief Minister also directed the Financial Commissioner - Development to ensure smooth commencement of crushing, along with meticulous implementation of the settlement reached between the owners of the sugar mills and the state government.
"In line with the commitment made by the state government in 2015 to bear the interest on the loan of Rs 200 crore taken by the private sugar mills to clear the payment of farmers for the 2015-16 crushing season, the Chief Minister also announced that the state government would immediately release the accumulated interest, amounting to nearly Rs 65 crore, directly to the farmers to partly clear dues of Rs 192 crore pending with the private mill owners," the spokesperson added.
The private mill owners assured the Chief Minister that the balance amount due to the farmers for the crushing season 2017-18 would be paid by them directly at the earliest.