Punjab Govt may hike cane SAP by Rs 20-30 per quintal : The Tribune India

Punjab Govt may hike cane SAP by Rs 20-30 per quintal

Crushing season to begin in Nov | Private mills oppose move, seek CM intervention

Punjab Govt may hike cane SAP by Rs 20-30 per quintal

The AAP government is likely to hike the state advised price (SAP) of sugarcane by Rs 20-Rs 30 per quintal for the crushing season that begins in November.



Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, October 1

The AAP government is likely to hike the state advised price (SAP) of sugarcane by Rs 20-Rs 30 per quintal for the crushing season that begins in November.

At present, the price offered to sugarcane growers in Punjab is Rs 345-Rs 360 per quintal, depending on the variety. Before the elections, AAP had promised to hike the cane price to Rs 380 per quintal. The cane growers, who have been protesting against the unpaid dues by private sugar mills, have been demanding that the prices be increased to Rs 390-Rs 400 per quintal.

Official sources said the Bhagwant Mann-led government was likely to honour its pre-poll commitment to cane growers. Agriculture Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, earlier this week, said the announcement about the SAP and assurances for other demands of the cane growers would be made by the Chief Minister on Monday.

Talking to The Tribune, Jangveer Singh Chauhan, state president, Doaba Kisan Sangharsh Committee, said since the fair and remunerative price (FRP) of sugarcane had been fixed at Rs 305 per quintal this year (up by Rs 15 per quintal over last year), the state government should increase the SAP to Rs 390-Rs 400 per quintal. “It will go a long way in mitigating the losses suffered by cane growers on the account of a static SAP for years (till a hike of Rs 50 per quintal was announced last year by the previous government),” he added.

The move to increase the SAP is, however, getting a stiff resistance from the private sugar mills in the state, who have 70 per cent of the cane crushing capacity.

The Punjab Private Sugar Mills Association, through Inderbir Singh Rana of Rana Sugars (who is also an Independent MLA), has shot off a letter to the CM, asking him not to increase the SAP, as they were not in a position to pay any price over and above the FRP of Rs 305 per quintal at 10.25 per cent sugar recovery.

“In the past, when the government would increase the SAP, it has extended the cane subsidy to the industry. A subsidy of Rs 50 per quintal was paid in 2015-16, Rs 25 in 2018-19 and Rs 35 per quintal in 2021-22 was paid to us by the government. Also, most of the other states only pay the FRP to the cane growers, even though the sugar recovery there is much higher at 10.90- 11.40 per cent than in Punjab (9.58 per cent). In the last season, the cost of sugar production was much higher (Rs 3,641 per quintal) as compared to our wholesale selling price of Rs 3,475 per quintal. We can’t start the bonding of cane, unless the SAP issue is decided,” Rana told The Tribune.

Clearance of dues

  • Though the crushing season got over much earlier, Rs 300-cr dues of nine coop sugar mills were cleared this month
  • The seven private sugar mills still have to clear an amount of Rs 50 crore due since last year
  • Though the assets of the biggest defaulting private mill at Phagwara were sold off and Rs 23.36 crore are being credited to farmers, it still owes dues of previous years

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