The Allahabad High Court has sought a reply from the Uttar Pradesh government while hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by a Noida-based lawyer seeking directions that dues, which according to the PIL are to the tune of Rs 12,000 crore, be paid to sugarcane farmers of the state.
The PIL was heard by Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice Piyush Agrawal on Tuesday. The court asked the state government to file a response within four weeks and listed the PIL for hearing on August 4.
The petition filed by lawyer Puneet Kaur Dhanda prayed before the court to direct the “authorities to release dues/payments of sugarcane farmers which are pending with the Sugar Mills of Uttar Pradesh for the year 2019-20 and 2020-21…”
The PIL said at present, the sugar mills owe more than Rs 12,000 crore to the cane farmers. “Add the interest due and the amount goes up to approximately Rs 15,000 crore,” said the PIL.
The PIL also sought orders from the court directing the authorities to increase the “State Advised Price (SAP) for sugarcane in UP for three seasons as the farmers’ costs have continuously risen”.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Tuesday, Supreme Court Advocate Vineet Dhanda, who appeared on behalf of Puneet Kaur Dhanda, said, “The need to file the petition was felt after reading news reports about how sugarcane farmers in the state are suffering as they have not been paid their dues.”
The PIL said the “delay in payments to sugarcane farmers and not revising of the State Advised Price as per today’s requirements is adding to miseries and sufferings of the farmers…” and after the pandemic, the situation has worsened for them.