Sugar mills in the drought-stricken parts of Maharashtra have begun shutting down crushing operations. Around 13 sugar mills in Solapur and Marathwada have shut down operations due to water shortage and lack of cane, top industry officials said.
Significantly, the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank ( MSCB) on Monday decided to revise valuations on sugar pledged by mills in the state for the fifth time during the ongoing crushing season of 2015-16. This could leave more funds in the hands of mills that are still struggling to make fair and remunerative price (FRP) payments this season.
On the other hand, the Centre has increased the cess on sugar from R24 per quintal to R124 per quintal.
“Valuations have been increased to R2,655 per quintal as on February 1, 2016 from R2,515 per quintal last month, a rise of R140 per quintal, says Pramod Karnad, MD, MSCB. This means the pledge rate gas now been revised to R2,255 per quintal. Last month, the pledge rate was R2,135 per quintal. Accordingly, the cane quantum has also been revised to R1,505 per tonne as on date from R1,385 per tonne last month. The cane quantum is according to the standard formula of 85%, Karnad said, adding if the new scheme of 5% additional quantum is taken into consideration, the amount is R1,640 per tonne. This will facilitate mills to make payments to farmers, he said. Prices are currently at around R2,920 per quintal, almost the same as last month. But the bank usually takes the average of the last three months into consideration when deciding the valuations and the average this month is R2,655 per quintal, he said.