UP govt files FIRs against Bajaj Hindusthan sugar mills

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Lucknow, Jun 16 (UNI) Initiating ''harsh step'' to recover the sugarcane dues and issuing Recovery Certificates (RCs), the Uttar Pradesh government has registered criminal cases against all the sugar mills of Bajaj Hindusthan in the state.

In another setback the Supreme Court today turned down the decision of the Bajaj Hindusthan company to charge Rs 10.58 per quintal from the canegrowers as transportation cost, who did not supply their cane at the mill gates.

The SC has given time to Bajaj Hindusthan till June 30 to complete the payment of dues, including the amount deducted from the farmers as transportation cost amounting to around Rs 200 crore.

Cane and Sugar Commissioner H S Das has asked the respective District Magistrates to lodge FIRs, or complaints submitted to the police, against the company's 16 units spread across UP.

Uttar Pradesh cane department spokesperson A K Sinha said the Supreme Court in its interim order on May 15 last had directed the sugar mills to clear dues at the rate of Rs 110 per quintal by June 12.

Though the company paid the farmers' dues, it deducted Rs 10.58 per quintal as transportation charges, which the government contended was not allowed by the apex court.

Mr Sinha said the FIRs have been lodged under section 22 of the UP Cane Purchase and Supply Act, 1953, and sections 419 and 420 of IPC. The name FIRs have been registered against Sishir Bajaj, his kin Kushagra Bajaj and general manager of the 16 mills.

The 16 sugar mills of the Bajaj Hindusthan had purchased cane worth Rs 1408 crore during the 2007-08 crushing season but paid only Rs 1145.46 crore to the farmers. Recently, on the SC order they had paid Rs 264.60 crore to the farmers but about Rs 200 crore were still to be paid to the canegrowers which was deducted from them as transportation cost.

The state government also issued Recovery Certificates (RCs) against seven other sugar mills in the State for failure to clear farmers' dues and commission charges for the 2007-08 crushing season. These mills together have an outstanding of Rs 93.22 crore relating to farmers' dues, interest and cane growers' society commission.

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