Around 28 sugar mills in the state might have to suspend crushing operations as they have failed to clear last year’s cane arrears. Sugar Commissioner Dr Bipin Sharma held hearing of 32 defaulting mills in Pune on Tuesday, of which only eight mills were found to have cleared all their dues. Other than suspension of crushing licence, the mills would also face impounding of the sugar stock as the commissioner will also issue notices for doing the same under the Revenue Recovery Code (RRC).
The crushing season 2015-16 had started with cane arrears of over Rs 1,000 crore. Due to a glut in the world sugar market and low prices, mills had failed to pay the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) to the cane growers. Following discussions with the government mills were allowed to start crushing after they submitted signed affidavit promising to clear their dues with a month of starting of crushing or face action. Suspension of crushing licence and impounding of sugar stock were the actions the mills had to pay in case of default. A total of 71 mills had submitted such affidavits and hearings had started on Tuesday.
During the course of hearing, eight mills had submitted proof of clearing their dues, while 28 had failed to do so. Sharma would be issuing orders of both suspension of crushing and impounding of the sugar stock in the next few days. Also the next hearing for the remaining mills would be held on Friday.
Meanwhile Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghathana (SSS) has announced the start of its agitation against the failure of the mills to announce the first installment payment as per the recently declared formula.
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