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Corporate magnates like Bajaj, Birla, Modi group owe Indian sugarcane farmers Rs 5000 crores

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

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.

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PM Narendra Modi Launches Plan to Tackle Water Shortage in India

Modi Unveils Plan to Tackle Water Shortages in India's Heartland States

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PM Modi
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India. VOA

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday launched a 60-billion-rupee ($842 million) plan to tackle water shortages in the country’s seven heartland states where agriculture is a mainstay.

India, the world’s second-most populous country, faces the worst long-term water crisis in its history as demand outstrips supply, threatening farm output and overall economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Almost every sector of the $2.6 trillion economy is dependent on water, especially agriculture, which sustains two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people.

“Water shortages in the country not only affect individuals and families; the crisis also has an effect on India’s development,” Modi said. “We need to prepare the new India to deal with every single aspect of the crisis.”

The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water and boost overall availability in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat states, which produce staples such as rice, wheat, sugar and oilseeds.

PM Narendra Modi
The plan launched by Modi would help replenish ground water. Wikimedia Commons

India is the world’s leading producer of an array of farm goods, and nearly 60% of the irrigation for agriculture comes from ground water, mainly through electric water pumps. Subsidised electricity gives farmers an incentive to pump out more water, a key reason behind fast-depleting water tables in the vast country.

Supplying clean drinking water to millions of poor people and reviving moribund irrigation projects were a key part of Modi’s policies for India, where the monsoon accounts for nearly 70% of the annual rains needed to water farms and recharge aquifers and reservoirs.

Nearly half of India’s farmland, without any irrigation cover, depends on annual June-September rains to grow a number of crops.

Drinking water is also an issue, as about 200,000 Indians die every year due to inadequate access to safe water and 600 million face high to extreme water stress, according to the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, a think tank chaired by Modi.

According to UK-based charity WaterAid, about 163 million people in India — roughly 12% of the population — do not have access to clean water close to home.

Also Read- 45% Indians Feel that Enough Steps are Not Taken for Women’s Safety: Survey

Every summer water shortages tend to be more acute in large cities such as the capital New Delhi, Chennai — a car-making center dubbed “India’s Detroit”, and Bengaluru, the country’s software capital.

Modi also exhorted farmers to increasingly adopt drip and sprinkler irrigation and use water-management techniques as well as eschewing water-guzzling crops such as rice and sugar cane. (VOA)