During the earlier meeting, the state government had asked for streamlining the process of fixing sugarcane prices as per the RSF for sugar factories which have completed cane crushing.
Farm activists on the board of the Maharashtra Cane Control Board () have sought the inclusion of jaggery processors, khandsari manufacturers and jaggery powder processors in the process of making Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) payments to farmers. “Currently, while it is mandatory for sugar factories to make FRP payments to farmers, these processors are free to make payments as per their convenience to farmers. Usually within the sugar sector, if the FRP is Rs 2,500 per tonne and factories make part payment of Rs 1,500, they do make the remaining payment in the latter part of the season. This is not the case with jaggery processors and khandsari makers. The farmer is left at their mercy,” Prahlad Ingole, member, MCCB, said.
According to him, around 10-15% of the cane during the crushing season is used for making jaggery and khandsari. In the meeting with cane control board chief secretary and chairman Ajoy Mehta, Cooperative Marketing chief Secretary Abha Shukla, agriculture secretary Eknath Davale present, farmers also sought action against 20 factories that have not made the Revenue Sharing Formula (RSF) payments for the 2016-17 season.
These 20 factories owe Rs 125 crore and unlike factories that have not made FRP payments, no Revenue Receipt Code (RRC) action is taken against them, Ingole pointed out. Maharashtra sugar commissioner agreed to issue RRC notices to these 20 factories, he said. In an earlier meeting, Ingole had suggested that no crushing licences should be given to factories that have failed to make RSF payments.
During the earlier meeting, the state government had asked for streamlining the process of fixing sugarcane prices as per the RSF for sugar factories which have completed cane crushing. The meeting approved cane prices for 2017-18 fixed as per the RSF. Of the181 sugar units, prices of 157 were fixed according to RSF, and of these, 17 factories have given higher RSF money than FRP to farmers. The board meeting had also given approval to rates of 140 sugar factories whose RSF rate was less than the FRP.
The farmers also sought payment of transportation costs in three phases during the crushing season. Five farmer representatives of the MCCB, including Prahlad Ingole, were present. The state’s FRP dues have come down to 3% as on July 15 with Rs 825.75 crore still to be made in cane payments to farmers. Of the total payable FRP of Rs 23,173crore, a sum of Rs 22,367.53 crore has been paid in cane payments to farmers.
Some 75 factories still owe dues to farmers, data released by the Maharashtra Sugar Commissionerate revealed. Around 120 mills have made 100% FRP payments, 56 mills have paid FRP in the 80-99% range, 14 mills have paid 60-79% due and 5 factories have made less than 59% payments. This season 76 RRC notices have been issued to defaulters.