The New Year may not begin on a sweet note for sugar millers in Maharashtra. Although the mills have made payments to the tune of R1,299.069 crore, about 60% of the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) payments to farmers as against the total of R2,180.68 crore, there are still several mills that have failed to make payments in farmers in full. These mills will be called for hearings in the first week of January, top officials of the Maharashtra Sugar Commisisonerate said.
Around 11 mills in Nanded region have paid R9.40 crore as against targeted payment of R8.19 crore. Three mills in Amravati have paid R10.27 crore as against the expected R8.63 crore. Four mills in Nagpur have paid R11.25 crore as against the stipulated payment of R4.25 crore.
However, mills across Kolhapur and Pune regions have failed to pay the complete amount owed to farmers. According to Vipin Sharma, Maharashtra Sugar Commissioner, this time because of the paucity of cane, there has been a compulsion on mills to make more payments and many of them have made payments over and above the fixed FRP.
Some of the mills are paying between R2,600-2,700 per quintal while the FRP is fixed at R2,300 per quintal. Maharashtra has an area of 6.33 lakh hectares under cane production, and is set to produce only 445 lakh tonnes as compared to 742 lakh tonnes the previous season. The Commissioner said that notices for the hearings would be sent according to the payment reports made by mills until December 30.
Sanjeev Babar, MD of the Maharashtra Sugar Federation had earlier agreed and said that mills have been declaring first cane installments in the range of R2,500-2,900 per tonne in some cases which could end up causing problems. While millers in western Maharashtra’s cane-rich Sangli in Kolhapur region agreed to pay R175 per tonne over and above the fair and remunerative price fixed by the Centre, other millers were forced to follow suit because of cane shortage.
You might also want to see this:
Overall, the cane shortage in the state is to the tune of 31-42% as compared to the last season and mills in Maharashtra and Karnataka are likely to face losses. With less cane availability, mills in Solapur, Ahmednagar, Pune, Nashik, Marathwada and Vidarbha regions could end up shutting early, either by January-end or February 15, federation officials have said. Only mills in western Maharashtra are likely to run till April-May.
The Commisisonerate has also imposed a fine of R1.25 crore on Warana Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana for starting the season before the stipulated date. Sharma said that the Commissionerate normally imposes a fine of R500 per tonne of cane that is crushed and accordingly has taken action against the factory for starting crushing season ahead of time. The factory had crushed some 25,909 tonnes of cane and therefore the fine has been imposed, he explained. The factory is expected to pay the fine at the District Collectors office soon.