The Maharashtra government is attempting to bring some uniformity in the harvesting and transportation costs of cane for sugar factories.
The Maharashtra government is attempting to bring some uniformity in the harvesting and transportation costs of cane for sugar factories. A committee constituted by the government under director (sugar) will be meeting in Pune on Friday to take feedback from various stakeholders, including farmer leaders, on this matter.
According to Vipin Sharma, Maharashtra sugar commissioner, although the harvesting cost is fixed, the transportation costs for bringing cane to factories vary. In some factories, cane is brought from 10 km, 25 km and in some instances even 200 km and therefore it becomes difficult to decide on what factors these costs should be decided, he explained.
The committee has held several meetings and has also met factory owners before and this time they will be meeting farmer representatives. The final report will be submitted by the sugar commissioner to the state government that will forward the report to the Cane Control Board. Sharma pointed out that this issue has been repeatedly brought out at meetings of the Cane Control Board and therefore the government decided to take it up and constituted a committee to look into the issue, the commissioner said.
According to senior officials, in other states, usually the onus is on the farmers to bring the cane to factories and they receive an ex-gate price. In Maharashtra farmers receive on farm price which means the harvesting and transportation costs are cut from the fair and remunerative price (FRP) payments to farmers.
According to the commissioner, the latest report on arrears will be available next week after which decisions will be possible.
Meanwhile, the Sugar Commissionerate has decided to re-instate three more crushing licences of factories after recieving reports of clearance of FRP dues to farmers. Sharma said that 5 licences were re-instated earlier and three more will be reinstated soon. A R22 crore fine on Sangli-based Vasantdada cooperative sugar factory for not making payments to sugarcane farmers and not processing the ash left from the co-generation plant.
In the beginning of the month, 35 factories continue to have pending fair and remunerative price arrears of about R250 crore for the 2014-15 season. Around 6 mills have approached the cooperation minister and the commissionerate is awaiting the minister’s decision.
Earlier this month, the Commissionerate had temporarily suspended the licences of 16 mills as they had failed to clear their dues of the last crushing season.