Chandigarh, Jun 2 (PTI) Congress MP Partap Singh Bajwa on Tuesday accused his party's government in Punjab of not taking 'concrete steps' to ensure the outstanding payment of Rs 681.48 crore to sugarcane growers in the state.
In a letter written to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Bajwa claimed that around 70,000 sugarcane growers had not been paid their dues amounting to Rs 681.48 crore for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons by cooperative and private sugarmills.
'It is a matter of grave concern that there are outstanding payments for years. The government has taken no concrete steps to ensure that these payments are made to the farmers,' Bajwa said.
He pointed out that as per the Sugarcane Control Order and Clause 3(3) of the Sugarcane Purchase and Regulation Act, sugar mills must make payments within 14 days of purchase of sugarcane.
'Otherwise, the mills will have to make these payments along with interest for the delayed period,' Bajwa wrote.
The Rajya Sabha MP said the unpaid dues have caused 'financial distress' to thousands of sugarcane farmers, leaving many with huge debts.
He demanded that the government take steps to ensure payment to growers who help it in the crop diversification programme.
The former Punjab Congress chief pointed out that two private mills had already paid payment to sugarcane growers. If they could clear dues then why other sugar mills could not do so, he questioned.
'It is a major lapse of the government where sugar mills could break the rules and regulations of the state and not face any punishment,” Bajwa wrote.
He also sought from the state government to make the pending payment of Rs 681.48 crore to farmers at the earliest.
He apprehended if sugarcane farmers were not paid their dues then area under sugarcane cultivation could drop by 20 per cent this year.
'This would have disastrous consequences to the economy of Punjab and the goal of crop diversification in the state,” he said. PTI CHS VSD DPB DPB