Maharashtra: Sugar industry seeks financial package

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Mumbai: The ailing sugar industry from Maharashtra has demanded assistance from the government due to the financial crisis. They raised demands in presence of Former Union minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday. They have submitted a list of proposals in a meeting, which was presided by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar with Sharad Pawar, chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), chairman of the board of administrators of MSC Bank and other top officials from the sector.

Their demands include financial package on the lines of Uttar Pradesh, restructuring of loans and transport subsidy of Rs 250 per quintal to boost sale in the country.

Sugar mills in the state claim that sugar MSP is at Rs 31 per kg, whereas the cost of sugar production is Rs 34 per kg. Therefore they are facing losses and also in such condition they have to pay a fair and remunerative price (FRP) to sugarcane farmers. This has increased financial stress on mills. Mills are also seeking transport subsidy of Rs 250 per quintal to face the competition from Uttar Pradesh which is the largest sugar producer in the country.

The less availability of sugarcane and cane harvesters have affected the crushing season and it is expected that most of the mills will finish crushing by January end this year. Crushing season in Maharashtra commenced late this year. Sugar mills in Maharashtra officially kick-started sugarcane crushing season on November 22 after they got permission from state Governor BS Koshyari in the absence of a functional state government. Sugar production in Maharashtra is down in the season 2019-2020 as the state had been gripped with drought and flood.

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