Taking serious note of non-payment of sugarcane arrears to the farmers by private sugar mills, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday directed the Cooperation Department to initiate stern action against the erring mill owners.Captain Amarinder Singh also directed the Finance Department to immediately release another Rs. 35 Crore to the Cooperative department for clearing the dues of cane growers.The Chief Minister issued these directives while chairing a meeting to review the functioning of the Cooperation Department here at his official residence this evening.Captain Amarinder Singh also ordered the Cane Commissioner to ensure immediate start of crushing operations by private millers, after having been informed about non-commencement of cane crushing during the current season.The Chief Minister issued stern warning to the private players involved in the business of crushing of sugarcane, who owe Rs. 201.37 Crores to farmers for crushing season of 2017-18.Captain Amarinder said that nobody would be allowed to harass the farmers and directed that all the dues be cleared forthwith without any further delay.
Reiterating his firm commitment to make timely payment to the cane growers, the Chief Minister asked ACS Cooperation Viswajeet Khanna to regularly monitor the functioning of the sugar mills. The Chief Minister also asked Khanna to work out modalities to cut down wasteful expenditure so as to make the cooperative sugar mills financially viable.Pertinently, during 2017-18 crushing season, out of total 842.10 lakh quintals sugarcane crushed, private mills crushed 618.56 lac quintals while the share of cooperative mills was 223.54 lac quintals. Resultantly, out of the total dues of Rs. 2608.65 Crores, the private mills owed Rs. 1915.93 Crores and had made payment of Rs. 1714.56 crores so far.Cooperative mills have already paid Rs. 500.50 crores out of total due amount of Rs. 692.71 towards clearing the dues.The meeting was attended by Chief Principal Secretary to CM Suresh Kumar, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Principal Secretary Finance Anirudh Tewari, Cane Commissioner Jaswant Singh.