Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh)
The Uttar Pradesh government is considering a proposal to increase the sugarcane State Advisory Price (SAP) in the upcoming crushing season scheduled to start from October.
The state government may go in for a cane price revision ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
A senior government official said that initial discussions on the issue have weighed in favour of revising the SAP which has remained unchanged for almost two years.
The last hike in SAP was done in September 2021, months ahead of the 2022 State Assembly elections.
Sources said that the cane department is expected to call a meeting soon to hold a discussion with the farmers and the millers.
This would be followed by deliberations by a high-level committee headed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary.
The final decision, however, would be taken by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, sources said.
Currently, the SAP for the general variety of cane is Rs 340 per quintal, while for early and late varieties it is Rs 350 and Rs 335 per quintal, respectively.
Experts said that the issue of SAP has essentially been sensitive for the state's western region where the BJP seeks to consolidate its position amid aggressive posturing by the Rashtriya Lok Dal.
Significantly, the opposition parties have been mounting pressure on the state government to increase the SAP while ensuring timely payment of cane dues to the farmers.
Experts said that the state government may seek to tread cautiously on revising the SAP -- a move which is potentially fraught with chances of cane arrears getting increased while stoking resentment among farmers.
Sources said that the state government may take a decision only after assessing the cane payment situation during the 2023-24 cane crushing year.
“At present, the cane payment situation is relatively good. It needs to be maintained before any decision on SAP revision is taken,” said a senior official in the cane development department.
The SAP for sugarcane in Uttar Pradesh is the third highest in the country after Haryana and Punjab.
Both Punjab and Haryana increased the cane compensation by Rs 20 and Rs 10 per quintal, respectively, in the previous cane crushing season.