Hasan Mushrif, chairman of the Kolhapur District Central Cooperative Bank ( KDCCB), in a recent meeting of millers in Kolhapur, informed them that a decision had been taken by mills at an earlier meeting in Pune to commence the season after Diwali.
Even as the Centre has issued directives to millers across the country to commence crushing of sugarcane for 2017-18 early in October to tide over any shortage during the festive season, sugar mills in Maharashtra are likely to commence crushing on November 1. Although a final decision is expected at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, a decision to commence the season in November was informally taken by mills at a recent meeting chaired by NCP leader Sharad Pawar. Hasan Mushrif, chairman of the Kolhapur District Central Cooperative Bank ( KDCCB), in a recent meeting of millers in Kolhapur, informed them that a decision had been taken by mills at an earlier meeting in Pune to commence the season after Diwali.
The sugar mills are also likely to approach Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to prevent cane from being sold to Karnataka mills since this could cause a scramble for cane in the state. Millers in Maharashtra have been opposing the Centre’s directive to start the season in October. In an earlier representation to the Centre, the Western India Sugar Mills Association (WISMA) president BB Thombare had said that the Maharashtra sugar mills are willing to commence the crushing season early in October subject to the condition that the mills are compensated for the losses caused by the drop in sugar recoveries. These private millers had demanded a compensation of Rs 500 per tonne on account of the losses caused by earlier crushing of cane. Normally, the Maharashtra crushing season begins after Diwali in the month of November when the cane maturity is better and the monsoons are over. The sugar recovery in November remains 10-11% in the state and in October, recovery drops to 8.5-9% only, Thombare had said.
Shivajirao Nagawade, chairman of Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation (MSCSFF), confirmed that the season is likely to commence on November 1 although a final decision is expected on Wednesday at the cabinet meet. “It has been raining heavily in Maharashtra for the last few days and harvesting cane at this point would not be feasible. Moreover, these rains will help the cane grow and add to the sugar recovery, which is why a decision was taken to commence crushing after Diwali,” he said. The decision at the cabinet meet will be final, he said. Moreover, the meeting of the Cane Control Board is expected to be held on September 24. A decision on fair and remunerative price ( FRP) is expected at the Cane Control Board meet. According to industry observers, an agitation is likely over FRP before the start of this season as well.