Even as Maharashtra is likely to see record sugar production, FRP arrears of sugar mills to farmers are expected to hit an all-time high of Rs 4,500 crore. The total production till date after crushing 885 lakh tonne has resulted in a production of 100.2 lakh tonne.
Cane arrears in Maharashtra will have mounted up to an all time high of Rs 4500 crore for the current season.This is the first time in the state’s history that cane arrears have gone to this extent, top officials from the state government said. Till March 15, arrears piled up to Rs 3,100 crore. Chandrakant Patil, minister for cooperation, Maharashtra, says CM Devendra Fadnavis and he will be leading a delegation to meet Ram Vilas Paswan, minister for food processing, on April 16 to discuss issues related to the sugar sector.This year, the state’s total sugar production is expected to exceed 103 lakh tonne after crushing some 910 lakh tonne of cane by May.
“The state has already granted a soft loan of Rs 2,000 crore and this should enable mills in Maharashtra to make FRP payments to farmers to a great extent. The government has also waived off purchase tax of Rs 570 crore and has announced incentives on molasses and an additional subsidy of Rs 1,000 per tonne apart from the subsidy of Rs 4,000 per tonne given by the Centre,” Patil told FE.
The delegation plans to urge the government to create buffer stock of 50 lakh tonne, of which Maharashtra’s share could come upto 25 lakh tonne.
The state government is also seeking restructuring of loans to farmers and linking of sugar prices to FRP. If the mills are unable to pay FRP even after the soft loan of Rs 2,000 crore, the government will be forced to take action against mills, the minister said. Sugar factories are already having surplus stock from last four years and prices are not going up. Buffer stock of sugar would have been a solution for this problem, he said. The government will extend major relief to the sugar sector by allowing export of molasses in other states or abroad. It would also urge the Centre to create a buffer stock of 50 lakh metric tonne. These measures will go a long way in providing relief to the mills,” he said.