Sugar mills in Maharashtra have decided to seek a relief package from the Centre to be able to pay sugarcane growers the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) this season.
At the first meeting of the Sugarcane Price Control Board held in Mumbai, representatives of the factories made it clear that they were not in a position to make cane payments to farmers in line with FRP at this juncture since the valuation done by banks comes up to R2,630 per tonne of which R1,486 per tonne has been earmarked for the first installment of cane payment.
Sanjiv Babar, MD, Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation (MSCSFF), said that the mills will be able to pay this amount and the remaining difference should be made good by the Centre and the state.
Taking the production cost and sales realisation into account, the difference comes up to R500 per tonne for which we are planning to seek incentives from the Centre, Babar told FE.
Rajgopal Devara, secretary of the federation, said that the relief package seeks a host of incentives, including extension of the export subsidy and an extension of the excise loans given by the Centre last year.
Last year, the Centre had given a package of R6,000 crore to enable mills across the country to make cane payments. Devara made it clear that mills will have to make cane payments to farmers as per FRP decided by the Centre.
The state chief secretary, who heads the cane board, and the federation secretary are seeking time from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to apprise him of the proceedings of the meet and discussion on the relief package to be sought from the Centre. Following this meet, there is talk of sending a delegation to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek incentives for the state sugar mills. This season, around 775 lakh tonne are expected to be crushed.
During the meet, there was a call to remove the inter-state ban on movement of molasses to allow free trade. The board had also asked for special schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme for sugarcane harvesters.