Pankaja Munde’s sugar mill to face action

Beed: Sugar mills in Maharashtra who failed to clear the pending cane arrears of sugarcane farmers are likely to face action. On April 4, state Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad wrote a letter to Aurangabad Divisional Commissioner Sunil Kendekar asking for strict implementation of his earlier orders of confiscation of properties of sugar mills that have failed to clear their cane dues.

The letter had mentioned the name of Vaidyanath Cooperative Sugar Mill in Beed, which is managed by Pankaja Munde, minister for women and child welfare department. The mill has failed to clear the pending arrears Rs 22.46 crore.

Lok Sabha election is around the corner, and sugarcane farmers are a crucial vote bank for political parties. Due to pending dues, cane growers in Maharashtra may give a jolt to any political party as their vote is very decisive.

Amid mounting cane arrears, Central government took various measures to address this issue, but still, dues are yet to low down.

In February, the government increased Minimum Selling Price (MSP) of sugar from Rs 29 to Rs 31 per kg and also approved soft loan of over Rs 10,000 crore to help millers clear the pending dues of farmers.

The millers are citing their inability to pay farmers the arrears, due to surplus stocks and low sugar prices.

Sugar factories in Maharashtra owe cane farmers Rs 4,609.55 crore with the crushing season set to close till April 15.

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