Maharashtra: Private sugar millers seek to start crushing on November 1

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Published: October 4, 2019 2:39:45 AM

BB Thombare, president, Western India Sugar Mills Association (Wisma), said the government had earlier sought the opinion of all stakeholders regarding the start of the season and the association had then recommended November 1 as the start to the season against the backdrop of the recent floods that hit Kolhapur, Satara and Sangli.

Private sugar millers, Maharashtra, crushing licences, FRP arrears, Wisma, Marathwada regionCooperative sugar millers in Maharashtra had earlier sought December 1 as the crushing date for the new season.

Private sugar millers in Maharashtra are seeking November 1 as the start of the 2019-20 season. Around 164 factories have applied for crushing licences so far and the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) arrears have come down to less than 1.71%.

BB Thombare, president, Western India Sugar Mills Association (Wisma), said the government had earlier sought the opinion of all stakeholders regarding the start of the season and the association had then recommended November 1 as the start to the season against the backdrop of the recent floods that hit Kolhapur, Satara and Sangli. “Most of the cane is damaged because of the floods in Western Maharashtra and should be used quickly.”

On the other hand, mills in Marathwada region have been reeling under the effect of a drought and most of the cane has been used as fodder here. “If the season does not begin early, there is a likelihood of more cane being diverted towards fodder. Therefore, a late start on December 1 as suggested by the cooperative millers will not help,” Thombre said.

Thombare maintained that the final decision would be taken at the meeting of the Committee of Ministers. But since the code of conduct is in force, the decision was likely to be taken after elections , he said. Maharashtra’s Assembly polls will be held on October 21 and the counting will be held on October 24.

Cooperative sugar millers in Maharashtra had earlier sought December 1 as the crushing date for the new season. Millers had put forth this demand before the Commissionerate, owing to the damage caused by floods in Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and drought situation in Marathwada, Ahmednagar and Solapur that led to cane being sold as fodder by farmers.

Maharashtra’s crushing season commences after Diwali which is either the first week of October or November every year. Since sugar commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad is away on a tour to Harayana, the crushing licences are yet to be issued to the mills.

Gaikwad had earlier stated a decision, with regard to the start of season, would be taken at the meeting of the Committee of Ministers. Thombare said it would be wrong to expect the farmer to wait for so long since he was in a hurry to dispose of his crop. Mills in Marathwada may decide not to crush this season owing to paucity of cane. It was estimated that of the 47 mills in the region, only 10 are likely to start operations.

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