Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel has written a letter to Union Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Minister Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan to draw attention towards the problems of sugarcane farmers of the state. Mr. Baghel has urged Union Minister to release a lump sum quota of 50 thousand metric tons to Chhattisgarh for sale of sugar and to keep it exempt it from monthly quota system under current circumstances. Mr. Baghel has stated in the letter that due to fixed quota for sale of sugar, the sugar produced by cooperative sugar factories of the state could not be sold. Due to the quota system, sugar stock of previous season in the factories of the state has also not been sold. On one side, sugar stock is continuously increasing in the current season, as crushing process has already started, on the other side due to the unfavorable financial condition created because of quota system, payment of the sugarcane producing farmers is getting delayed.
Mr. Baghel has urged the Union Minister to issue a lump sum quota of 50 thousand metric tons for the sale of sugar and to keep it free from the quota monthly quota system under the current circumstances. He has further stated in the letter that he wants to draw Centre’s attention towards the serious problem of the sugarcane producing farmers in the state, which has worsened in the current situation of corona pandemic. Government of India has been releasing monthly quota for sale of sugar from the month of June 2018, and sugar factories are allowed to sell sugar as per the quota allocated. A number of letters have been written to the Centre earlier as well, regarding problems of sugarcane-producing farmers, but positive response is still awaited.
Chief Minister has further written in the letter that four sugar factories of the state are functioning in the cooperative sector, and in the current crushing season 2019-20, 7 lakh 44 thousand 309 metric tons of sugarcane worth Rs 195 crore have been sold to factories by 35 thousand farmers. But due to adverse financial conditions, sugarcane farmers are not getting paid. However, in view of the interests of farmers, procurement and crushing of sugarcane is being done even in these odd circumstances. Due to Corona-generated conditions, the farmers are unable to earn any other alternative income and pending payment against sugarcane procurement has further created serious financial problems for them, making it difficult for them to make their both ends meet. This is also creating problems in payment of salaries to factory employees.
Mr. Baghel has written in the letter that there are about 58 lakh families living below the poverty line in the state, sugar produced by the cooperative sugar factories are being made available to the poor families under State Government’s public distribution system. But as the sales quota issued by Government of India to sugar factories in the state is very low, farmers are not getting paid against procurement of sugarcane, and sugar is not available for public distribution system. For example, in April 2020, demand under the Public Distribution System for the state is 5785 metric tons but the quota of 4628 metric tons has been received from the Government of India, which is 1157 metric tons is less than the demand under public distribution system, hence the availability of sugar produced by the factories of the state for the open market is out of question. The stock of 87088 metric tons of sugar is available in all the four sugar factories of the state, but it could not be sole due to limited quota allotted. In March, an additional special quota of 12125 metric tons was issued for 4 factories of the state, but the problem remained unresolved, as the additional allocation was adjusted to the quota of 7 months only.
Chief Minister has written in the letter that in view of Corona-generated conditions and in larger interest of the sugarcane producing farmers as well as cooperative sugar factories in the state, a lump sum quota of 50 thousand metric tons should be released for resolving the serious problems faced by the sugarcane producers in Chhattisgarh, and under the current special circumstances, Chhattisgarh should be exempted from the monthly quota system. Similarly, sugarcane producers should be allowed to sell sugar produced by sugar factories as per their demand and it should be considered separate from the quota so that the price of sugar supplied to the farmers can be adjusted from the amount of sugarcane payable by them.
Mr. Baghel has stated in the letter that keeping in view the stock of sugar available and the unfavourable financial condition of the factories, Centre is requested to issue lump-sum sugar sale quota. Also, the state should be exempted from the mandate of adjusting the additional special quota of 12125 metric tons released for the four factories in equal installments in 7 months from April 2020 to October 2020, under current circumstances.