Sugar Stock Of 39 Mills May Get Seize

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Pune: As pressure is mounting on the government over FRP dues, the administration has pulled up its socks. In a recent development, Maharashtra Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad has decided to act against 39 sugar mills, which have not yet paid the first installment to the sugarcane farmers even after more than two months of sugarcane crushing commenced. These sugar factories consist of 18 private and 21 cooperative mills. Around Rs 1813.88 crores arrears have been piled up with these mills. On Tuesday night, Sugar Commissioner ordered to seize the sugar stocks and instructed to pay the FRP to the cane growers. The administration is forced to take this step, after an aggressive agitation by Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana(SSS).

The millers are citing their inability to pay farmers the actual FRP, due to surplus stocks of sugar, low demand in the market, and no increment in the minimum selling price. But Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana is firm on its demand on FRP payment in one installment.

On January 28, SSS leader and Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetti staged demonstration and protest march by thousands of sugarcane farmers. 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 the latest figures by the 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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