Sugar production in the current sugar season (ending September) is expected to grow sharply to touch 31.5 to 32 million tonne, stated Indian Sugar Mills Association (Isma) on Thursday. Last season, India, the second largest producer of sugar in the world, produced 20.3 million tonne. As on April 30, 2018, sugar mills have produced 31.03 million tonne of sugar in the current season. With 130 sugar mills still operating, majorly in UP, it is expected that sugar production during the current season might end up between 31.5 million tonne to 32 million tonne, the apex body said in a release. Maharashtra mills have produced 10.65 million tonne till April 30 and out of 187 sugar mills, almost all the mills have ended their operations, barring 15 mills. These mills are also likely to close in the next couple of days. UP has produced 11.20 million tonne till April end and 80 out of 119 sugar mills are continuing their crushing operations. Some of these mills are closing fast, whereas few are expected to continue crushing till second week of May. In Karnataka, all the sugar mills have stopped their operations and they have produced 36.30 lakh tonne during the current season. Sugar production in Bihar, Punjab and Haryana during the current season has reached record levels at 7.10 lakh tonne, 8 lakh tonne and 7.25 lakh tonne respectively. While all mills in Bihar have stopped crushing, few mills in Punjab and Haryana are still operating. Other states like Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana have produced 10.90 lakh tonne, 7.10 lakh tonne and 5.30 lakh tonne, respectively, the release added. The record production of sugar has resulted in sharp fall in prices of sweetener and huge losses to mills. Industry is currently bearing a loss of Rs 8-9 per kg as mills average production cost is about Rs 35 per kg while ex-mill selling rate is Rs 26-27 per kg, sources pointed out. As part of the bail out package, the Union government on Wednesday announced that it would pay Rs 1,540 crore to cane farmers directly on behalf of sugar mills. The total cane dues to farmers is estimated at around Rs 20,000 crore. It may be recalled, the union government earlier doubled import duty on the commodity to 100% and scrapped the export duty. It has also allowed millers to export 2 million tonne sugar.