Uttar Pradesh to manufacture sulphur-free sugar, CM Yogi to promote rural banking

Uttar Pradesh is set to begin production of sulphur-less or sulphur-free sugar in the state when Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurates two plants in Basti and Gorakhpur sugar mills on Wednesday.

With the first-of-its-kind facility in the state, the production of sulphur-less sugar will also facilitate timely payments to the sugarcane farmers.

The state government, from its resources, had financed the revival of both these defunct sugar mills and later also financed the installation of the plant and machinery of the sulphur plant.

The total daily cane crushing capacity of the two sugar mills is 50,000 quintals.

During the current cane crushing season 2020-21, both the mills are expected to purchase 65 lakh quintals of cane from the farmers.

The 2020-21 crushing season in the mills began last month and production of the sulphur-free sugar will start from Wednesday.

The Pipraich sugar mill produced 4.43 lakh quintals of traditional sugar during the last cane crushing season (2019-20) and the Munderva mill produced 4.02 lakh quintals of sugar during the same period.

The two mills also generated 315 MW and 418 MW power respectively and earned revenue of over Rs 32 crore.

The Gorakhpur and Basti sugar mills have also cleared 100 per cent dues of Rs 14,523 lakh and Rs 13,986 lakh to the sugarcane farmers for the last cane crushing season.

The sugar corporation said both the sugar mills would make immediate payments to the farmers during the current season.

For sulphur-less sugar production units, two new turbines at a cost of Rs 25 crore each have been installed in the mills and the carbon-dioxide that is used in the process will be supplied free of cost from the distilleries.

The production process of sulphur-less sugar is eco-friendly and it also enhances the soil fertility. It is also safer and healthier for the consumers as compared to the conventional sugar.

The sugar that is generally used in Indian households contributes to health problems like obesity and tooth decay and it also does not contain nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

The traditional technique of sugar production uses sulphur-dioxide and lime to clean sugarcane juice. Some amount of sulphur is left behind after the completion of the process and it is harmful to health.

The Yogi Adityanath government will start the training of 56,875 business correspondent (BC) ‘Sakhis’, who have been selected to promote rural banking, from December 15.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the programme would not only help in simplifying banking for rural population by offering them services at their doorstep but would also create employment for women.

Additional Chief Secretary (rural development) Manoj Singh said around 2.16 lakh applications were received from 58,532 Gram Panchayats from across the state for the post of BC Sakhis.

In the first phase, 56,875 candidates have been shortlisted for training which will be conducted in all the districts once in a week in two batches of 30 each.

Once the training is complete, an online examination will be conducted by the Indian Institute of Banking and Finance.

Commerce Bank, Corporate BC and Fintech Payment Bank have been linked to the programme for proper training of candidates.

Singh said at least 34 companies had shown interest for partnership in the programme.

BC Sakhis will be provided with a desktop computer, a laptop, POSH machine, card reader and fingerprint reader.

For this, candidates will be provided an interest-free loan. They will be given a monthly stipend of Rs 4,000 per month for six months and Rs 1,200 per month as ‘samooh sakhi’ stipend.

They will also be permitted an overdraft of Rs 25,000. In addition to this, they will be paid a commission of 0.2 per cent on every transaction.

Singh said BC Sakhis could also be empowered to draw funds for payment of wages under MGNREGS.

NIFT, Rae Bareli, has been assigned the task of designing uniforms for BC Sakhis which would be in keeping with Indian traditions.

Weavers from Varanasi, Mau and Mubarakpur have been roped in to provide cloth for uniforms. Each BC Sakhi will get the first two sets of uniform free of cost.

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