Maharashtra sugar millers demand release of pending funds

Pune: On August 19 by giving relief to flood-affected victims, Maharashtra government had announced that the loans taken up by farmers holding land up to one hectare would be either waived off or paid by the state government. Now, the sugar millers in the state have requested Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to increase the loan waiver announced for farmers for up to two hectares.

Heavy rain and in Pune, Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts, the sugar belt of Maharashtra, have majorly hit the sugarcane crops. It has caused massive loss to the cane growers.

In a representation submitted to Fadnavis, Jayprakash Dandegaokar, chairman, Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation ( MSCSFF) said, “The government should give a grant of Rs 50,000 per acre to farmers up to a maximum of 5 acres as sugarcane is submerged under flood water.”

Millers have also demanded the release of pending funds allocated by Centre to sugar mills to clear the cane arrears.

The flood had damaged crops on several thousand hectares in the region. With the harm to sugarcane, it may also impact the sugar output in Maharashtra. The state’s sugar production was expected to be around 70 to 75 lakh tonne in the crushing season 2019-2020, but experts believe it may fall to 12 to 15 per cent after the flood. It will also impact the crushing period due to less availability of sugarcane.

Like Maharashtra, even Karnatka faced the flood’s fury. As per the preliminary investigation, there has been a loss of 40 lakh tonnes of sugarcane in the Karnataka’s Belagvi district.

Sugarcane farmers who are already stressed with pending sugarcane arrears are now in the state of shock and struggling to come back on a track. Flood not only claimed lives but it also caused damage to the properties, crops and others worth thousands of crores. So far, 1,058 have lost their lives, and over 18 lakh people have been rescued across India by state and central agencies. In 152 districts, over 7,800 relief camps have been opened to give shelter to flood-affected people.

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