No factory can commence crushing during the season unless a licence is issued. Sugar millers owe around `589.59 crore in FRP payments to farmers for the 2018-19 season.
Looking to ensure early payments to cane growers, the Maharashtra government has decided that sugar mills would be issued crushing licences for the new season only if they agree to pay fair and remunerative price (FRP) dues of farmers within 14 days.
Officials said the state’s sugar commissioner has used his powers to link the issuance of crushing licence to a commitment to pay farmers’ dues within a period of 14 days, a time frame stipulated under the Sugarcane Control Order, 1966.
Officials in the sugar commissionerate said crushing licences are issued to factories on the basis of the Maharashtra Sugar Factories Act, 1984. No factory can commence crushing during the season unless a licence is issued. Sugar millers owe around `589.59 crore in FRP payments to farmers for the 2018-19 season.
As per the commissionerate’s crushing report, around 195 factories participated in crushing during the season and 952.11 tonne of cane was crushed to produce a record 107 lakh tonne of sugar. Of the 195 factories, 129 mills cleared farmers’ payments but 66 mills still have dues to pay at the end of the season. The total FRP dues for the season amounts to `23,207.28 crore of which millers cleared dues worth `22,645.26 crore till August 15.
While 129 factories have cleared 100% FRP payments, 49 factories have cleared 80-99% payments, 13 factories have cleared 60-79% payments and 4 factories have made less than 49% payments. The sugar commissioner has now issued revenue recovery code (RRC) orders to mills that have failed to pay basic FRP to farmers.
The commissionerate has, meanwhile, extended the last date for issuing crushing licence to September 30 from the earlier deadline of August 30 to give factories more time to prepare for crushing. The recent floods in Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur have affected the management of the factories negatively and they require more time to prepare for crushing, sugar commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said.