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Pune: Controversy over sugar crisis is refusing to die down. On Monday, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader and Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetti staged demonstration and protest march by thousands of sugarcane farmers.
Maharashtra Sugar Commissioner promised action against the sugar mills which have not cleared farmers’ dues. Following which, Shetti called off the agitation and warned that if farmers did not get their dues, he would launch an indefinite hunger strike.
According to news agency PTI, in a written assurance given to Shetti, Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad stated that there are 174 sugar mills which have not paid cane cultivators dues of Rs 5,319 crore.
“To expedite the clearing of the dues, we recently completed the hearing process of 39 sugar factories, and by Tuesday, district-wise orders will be issued to initiate action against these millers by the issuance of Revenue Recovery Certificates (RCC) under the provisions of the Sugar Act (price regulation),” he stated.
Since long cane farmers are demanding fair and remunerative price (FRP) and clearance of their sugarcane payment dues. It has been more than two months of sugarcane crushing, and still many mills have not paid the arrears.
The rule mandates that FRP amount should be deposited to the farmers’ bank accounts within 14 days after the sugarcane harvest is handed over to the factory owners, but millers failed to do so. They have expressed helplessness in paying the arrears owing to the fall in the price of sugar. The sugar mills in Maharashtra are in big trouble as they have been choked up with surplus stocks of sugar, low demand in the market, and no increment in the minimum selling price.
According to ISMA, the cane price arrears as on December 31, 2018, were Rs 19,000 crore, including Rs 2,800 crore of arrears of the previous season.
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