Jalandhar, September 30
Financial discrepancies by Golden Sandhar Sugar Mills, earlier known as Wahid Sandhar Sugar Mills, have been found responsible for debts of 600 sugarcane farmers, who find themselves ensnared in debts of Rs 3 lakh each.
This was revealed by the Vigilance Bureau, following the arrest of SAD leader and former Markfed chairman Jarnail Singh Wahid, who was a former partner at the mill.
The dharna by sugarcane farmers outside the Golden Sandhar Sugar Mills at Phagwara finally ended on the fourth day today, following the arrest of Wahid and sealing of the mill this afternoon.
The dharna, led by the Doaba Kisan Union, was being held under the Samyukta Kisan Morcha demanding Rs 42 crore pending dues of sugarcane farmers.
A team of the Kapurthala district administration, led by Phagwara SDM Jai Inder Singh, sealed the mill late this afternoon.
Apart from the charges against Wahid and his family members, the Vigilance probe has brought to light some glaring discrepancies and financial irregularities in the working of the mill.
The Vigilance Bureau (VB), Punjab, in its investigations, revealed that the mill, previously known as Wahid Sandhar Sugar Mills, had failed to settle outstanding payments to cane farmers for the past four years, accumulating a staggering debt of approximately Rs 40,71,68,000. Under its previous management by Wahid Sandhar Sugar Mills, the mill neglected its financial obligations.
The VB stated that approximately 600 farmers find themselves ensnared in Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loan liabilities, with each farmer being held liable for Rs 3 lakh, apparently under the mill’s guarantorship. Farmers are now receiving legal notices from IDBI Bank, Phagwara, urging them to repay KCC loans totalling Rs 3 lakh each to the bank.
Doaba Kisan Union president Kuldip Singh said: “Our unpaid dues amount to nearly Rs 42 crore. Along with interest, it reaches around Rs 46 crore. We had a meeting day before yesterday with the state agricultural minister, wherein the decision was taken that the mill will be run by the owner who will pay the amount to the farmers. As per the DC’s orders, the Phagwara SDM and the ADC sealed the mill today. Now, the government has assured us of action. It will run the mill, crushers and also ensure the payment. As long as we do not get our dues with interest, we will allow the mill to function.”
Phagwara SDM Jai Inder Singh said: “As per the Vigilance probe, the mill, for the tenure of 2022-23, was being run by Sultanpur Lodhi MLA Rana Inder Partap, as per an agreement between him and the former directors. This agreement isn’t in public domain. The mill is on the government land. While farmers demanded pending dues from the current management, they were in turn told that the previous management was responsible for paying the dues. Due to this deadlock, the mill was sealed today.”
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