AS THE Bhagwanpur Sugar Mill in Sangrur district failed to pay off pending dues of sugarcane farmers, the Punjab government has decided to auction the mill.
Farmers had protested by blocking the state highway in February and later in March due to pending dues of Rs 74.46 crore against the private mill. Congress candidate Kewal Singh Dhillon had to face protests during a number of his election meetings campaign for Lok Sabha polls by farmers angered by the government s failure to get pending dues released.
The owner had in between made part payments to farmers, but nearly Rs 42 crore is still outstanding. Instructions released by the Sangrur DC s office said, As the mill owner has failed to make payment to the farmers, hence properties of the owner at Baralwal and Dhuri stand attached. They will be auctioned as per the payment to be released to farmers.
The mill owner had repeatedly promised farmers that he will start paying the dues in installments. It has been learnt that now per day Rs 80 lakh is being released by the owner with a promise that he will clear the amount gradually.
His properties at Baralwal and Dhuri have been attached, confirmed DC Sangrur Ghanshyam Thori.
In Punjab, more than Rs 1,000 crore in dues are yet to be paid to sugarcane farmers by private as well as co-operative sugar mills. Keeping the Bhagwanpura Sugar Mill case in mind, many farmers this season did not grow sugarcane in Sangrur and Barnala areas. Over 4,000 farmers are dependent on this mill.