As against the 11.43 lakh hectares of cane that the state had reported this year, the mills were to crush only over 8.43 lakh hectares of crop. The state’s sugar production was set to fall from last year’s 107.21 lakh tonnes (lt) to 64 lt.
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 scheme, announced by the Centre in February, allows the mills to avail of loans at 7-10 per cent interest rate for a year. It is meant to help sugar mills clear their dues to cane growers, which have run into thousands of crores.
The underlying objective seems to be to force mills to sell more sugar in order to generate extra cash flows to liquidate cane arrears, which, according to the Centre, have reached a level of Rs 20,159 crore as on February 22.