Sugar mills in Tamil Nadu, which are using just 21 % of the capacity, have sought the support of the Central and State governments to continue their operations and to make payments to farmers.
At a meeting representatives of the South India Sugar Mills’ Association had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Monday, association chairman Palani G. Periyasamy and five other sugar mill owners highlighted their demands.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Minister of State for Finance Pon Radhakrishnan, who are both from Tamil Nadu, were present at the meeting.
Mr. Periyasamy told The Hindu that sugar mills in Tamil Nadu were going through a tough time because of the drought in the State for the last four years. It had affected nearly five lakh sugarcane farmers in the State, he added.
“We apprised the Prime Minister of what we are going through and what we must do together. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu had also written to the Prime Minister a couple of months ago on the issues.” The Prime Minister expressed concern about protecting the interests of farmers and directed them to meet the officials concerned and they met them. “We have put the industry problems in the right perspective,” he said.
The ex-mill price of sugar was ₹32 to ₹33 a kg in the State, which was lower than the production cost. Even to pay farmers and to sustain operations, mills needed support from the State and Central governments.
“We want loans to be restructured, moratorium period for repayment of loans, and the banks should not classify the loans of sugar companies as NPA accounts,” he added.