To provide much-needed relief to sugarcane growers and private sugar mills, the Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday gave ex-post facto approval to disburse Rs. 25 per quintal directly in the accounts of sugarcane growers (farmers), out of a total State Agreed Price (SAP) of Rs. 310, with the remaining Rs. 285 per quintal to be paid to them by private sugar mills for crushing year 2018-19.The move is aimed at ensuring economic viability of the mills and timely cane payment to the farmers for the crushing season 2018-19, and is a follow-up of the decision taken in this regard at a meeting held under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister on December 5, 2018.
Notably, for the crushing year 2018-19, the Government had decided to start operations of the crushing mills from November 15, 2018. Accordingly, crushing was started by the Cooperative Sugar Mills. However, none of the private sugar mills initiated the process of estimate/survey/bond/crushing in their respective reserve area by the stipulated time, as the owners of these mills wanted to purchase sugarcane at Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of Rs. 275 per quintal fixed by the Government of India.However, the State Government had issued a notification to purchase sugarcane as per State Agreed Price for early, mid and late varieties at Rs. 310, Rs. 300 & Rs. 295 per quintal respectively. Due to the stand taken by the private sugar mills, there was resentment amongst the sugarcane growers who resorted to dharnas across the state.