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Bitter pill: Sugar prices soar,mills may stop production

With the prices of sugar having gone up from Rs 18 to Rs 23 per kg within a span of three months and no respite likely...

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | Published: January 13, 2009 12:53:07 am

With the prices of sugar having gone up from Rs 18 to Rs 23 per kg within a span of three months and no respite likely,the nine co-operative sugar mills of the state might stop production before the first week of February,much before the usual end-month of March.

Owners cite the 40 per cent dip in cane production and higher minimum support price to farmers as compared to last season (raised from Rs 135 a quintal to Rs 165) as the chief reasons behind the predicament.

Other reasons cited include a one-month delay in the beginning of the crushing and the Centre releasing 46 lakh tonnes as quota for sugar mills across the country,something termed as an “election gimmick” by many. However,in spite of the move,mills across the country have been left asking for more.

AP Gupta,GM of Budhewal Sugar Mill,says,“We will stop production by month-end as there are no supplies. Many other units are closing too; not only in Punjab but in Maharashtra as well.”

Notably,sugar prices were at Rs 21 a kg barely two days back. Wholesale prices range between Rs 2,160 a quintal and Rs 2,275. Jagjit Singh,president of Wholesale Sugar Market Association,says the mills are yet to receive details about the Central quota,which has created a degree of uncertainty in the market. “The way mills are ending production early,the prices will go further up,” he predicts.

Nine sugar mills sign Mou
Nine cooperative mills have entered into an agreement and signed MoUs for setting up co-generation plants and modernising and upgrading the sugar mills. The project will require an investment of around Rs 1,000 crore and would generate employment opportunities in the state. The MoUs were signed by chairpersons of Ajnala,Batala,Bhogpur,Budhewal,Fazilka,Gurdaspur,Morinda,Nakodar and Nawanshahr sugar mills.

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