Maharashtra Sugar Commissioner Sambhaji Kadu Patil has warned millers in the state to clear pending fair and remunerative price (FRP) dues of farmers for the previous year before the start of the season. The state’s new sugar season is slated to commence from October 20. In a strongly worded note to the Maharashtra Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories and the Western India Sugar Mills Association, the body of private sugar mills, the commissioner has made it clear that no new crushing licenses will be issued to defaulting mills unless the dues are cleared by the factories.
Referring to the meeting of the committee of ministers held on September 25 under the chairmanship of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Patil stated that timely payment of cane dues was one of the issues that was discussed at the meet. The CM has insisted on the clearance of the FRP dues of the last season, failing which new crushing licenses shall not be issued to the mills, he pointed out. Patil added that this is part of the procedure that is followed by the commissionerate every year.
According to Patil, the pending FRP dues of Maharashtra now amount to Rs 222 crore as on September 30, down from Rs 336.15 crore as on September 15. There is enough time for the season to start and of the 37 mills which still have FRP dues, only 3 mills have made payments of less than 70%.
Revenue and recovery certificate (RRC) action has been taken against 22 mills. The commissionerate has already received around 194 applications from mills for crushing this season. Of these, 100 are cooperative factories and 94 are private mills. Around 169 mills have fulfiled all the necessary criteria for getting the crushing licenses.
Therefore, a maximum number of mills are expected to crush cane this season, Patil added. Initially, it was estimated that 1,049 lakh tonne of cane will be crushed but the commissioner said he could not commit to any final crushing figures because of the attack of ‘humni’ on cane in some parts of the state and as the impact of the disease is yet to be ascertained.