The leading names of the sugar industry have left the UP government in a spot of bother.
Sugar mills owned by nine top notch companies such as Bajaj, Birla, Modi group and the late liquor baron Ponty Chadda-led ‘Wave group’ account for over Rs 5000 crores, more than half of the total outstanding cane arrears in the country.
The reports of the cane development department revealed by an English daily, show that these sugar biggies are the country’s biggest laggards in making cane payments.
After buying cane in huge quantity from farmers, the private mills have come to default on a payment of over Rs 5100 crores, reported The Times of India.
Bajaj alone is defaulting on a payment of Rs 2100 crores, while Birla is yet to pay Rs 520 crores. Mawana group which has three mills is defaulting on a payment of Rs 611 crores, while the Modi group owes around Rs 460 crores to the farmers. The Yadu group, owned by mafia turned politician, DP Yadav, is defaulting to the tune of Rs 62 crores.
Out of a total of 103, 40 mills belonging to these companies are defaulting massively and have left the poor cane growers in a state of complete loss.
“The department would be considering action against the defaulters very soon”, said UP cane commissioner Subhash Chandra Sharma.
Earlier a recent high court order had directed the state government to force 75 per cent of the total cane dues paid to the farmers by July 15.
An action report is required to be filed by the cane department by July 28.
Talking about the steps undertaken to bring the defaulters to book Sharma said, “The department is taking all possible steps including initiating action like registering FIRs and issuing recovery challans against the millers.”
“The payment is being done but very slowly. Not surprisingly, an arrear running into thousands of crores would be carried into the next crushing season which would start by October end”, Sharma said while commenting on the progress made thus far.
According to recent figures from the Centre’s directorate of sugar shows that nationally UP accounts for the highest cane arrears while Maharashtra comes a close second.
The lower arrears for Maharashtra in comparison to UP are attributed to a lesser compensation for farmers.
Is Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath — in power for just over a year — fast losing his lustre?
Many here feel so.
A litany of complaints about his public conduct, his behaviour with colleagues as well as common people is fast eroding the aura he had built up as the five-time Lok Sabha MP from Gorakhpur who was catapulted to the Chief Minister’s office of a socially diverse and politically volatile state of 220 million people.
Last week, 24-year-old Ayush Bansal shocked many when he broke down in front of media in Gorakhpur and disclosed how the monk-turned-Chief Minister mocked him during a “junta darbaar” where he had gone to complain about a land-grab case in which independent legislator from Nautanwa, Amanmani Tripathi, was involved.
He also accused the Chief Minister of calling him “awaraa” (wayward) and pushing him while throwing his file in the air. “Maharaj ji angrily snapped at me and said my work will never be done and that I should get out of his sight,” Bansal told IANS.
While officials got down to damage control and said the matter was being looked into, the fact that Adityanath behaved in a manner unbecoming of a Chief Minister was neither contradicted by officials nor denied by the ruling party.
Barely had the din over this episode died down when two MPs of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) complained of similar behaviour. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP MP from Robertsganj Chhote Lal Kharwar, accused Adityanath of “scolding him and asking him to get out”. The MP said he was deeply pained at the behavior of the Chief Minister as he tried to draw his attention to issues faced by the party faithful.
“Never did the local administration listen to my plaints and when I went to meet the Chief Minister twice over many issues, ‘unhone mujhe daantkar bhaga diya’ (he scolded me and chased me away),” the lawmaker said in his letter.
The BJP leader has also shot off a letter to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, seeking help. Lal also says that definite proof of wrong-doing and corruption presented by him went unheard and unaddressed. What is surprising is that all this happened to a man who is the state president of the BJP’s SC/ST Morcha.
While Modi is learnt to have assured Lal of action, there are other similar murmurs about Adityanath’s rough behaviour. Etawah MP Ashok Dohre has also written to Modi accusing the state police of lodging fake cases against SCs and STs during the Bharat Bandh. When asked why he did not petition the Chief Minister, Dohre said he considered Modi his leader, and thus petitioned him.
Alarmed by the sudden “unease” among the party’s lawmakers, Amit Shah summoned Yogi to New Delhi over the weekend and is learnt to have asked him to mend his ways. Adityanth also met Modi. Interestingly, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who party insiders admit doesn’t see eye to eye with Yogi, was also called to Delhi at the same time.
Ironically, till not long ago, the 45-year-old Chief Minister was being venerated by the party faithful as a man next only to Modi. Insiders, however, now admit that not only has Adityanath failed to show his “pakad” (hold) on the party, but is also “awkwardly arrogant in his public conduct”, and not very able in his administration.
“He may be a busy man, so have been his predecessors… he remains inaccessible and uses foul and unacceptable language at times,” conceded a senior minister who did not wish to be named. Though stopping short of calling the Chief Minister arrogant, he suggested that “Yogi-ji is better advised to be more courteous and improve his time management”.
A senior party functionary too noted “the changing ways of Maharaj-ji”, though he felt “mood swings and the tongue-lashings could be because he has to handle a big state like Uttar Pradesh”.
A senior bureaucrat also alleged that the Chief Minister often “goes off the handle” and could be very acerbic in his dealing with officials. The Chief Minister’s loyalists, however, point out that he does not like people to hang around him and wants officials to deliver fast and work within the system that has been set up. When there is any breach, he loses his temper, a close aide told IANS.
His failure to deliver on his promise to get all pot-holed roads fixed by a given deadline last year; the rollback — under pressure — in privatisation of the power sector in five cities; the poor showing in the Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha by-polls and reports that he and his deputy, Keshav Prasad Maurya, don’t get along well have already rung alarm bells in the establishment, sources said. IANS