March 21, 2021 5:08:13 am
Four more sugar mills have been issued notices of attachment of properties by Maharashtra Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad for failure to pay their farmers on time. With 51 mills ending their crushing operations, Maharashtra has seen production of 95.75 lakh tonnes of sugar till date.
On Saturday, two mills in Solapur and one each in Satara and Beed were issued notices of attachment of properties for failing to pay their farmers the government declared Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for cane purchased. The total number of such notices this season has now gone up to 17, with these mills failing to pay their farmers to the tune of Rs 637.57 crore. After a relatively easy season in 2019-20, Maharashtra’s sugar mills have again started defaulting this season, although sugar production has improved since last year.
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Till date, the 187 mills which have started operations in the state have crushed 920.23 lakh tonnes of cane. Maharashtra’s final production is expected to be around 100 lakh tonnes of sugar this season As of Friday, 52 of 87 mills have ended their operations for this season, of which 31 are from Solapur district. Mills in other parts of Maharashtra are continuing their operations, with a majority to cease operations by April-end.
While mills have abundance of cane, sluggish sales of sugar have posed a major problem for the sector. Exports which had come as a saver for the sector last year have been slow due to bottlenecks in infrastructure. Bhairavnath B Thombare, chairman of the West Indian Sugar Mills Association (WISMA) confirmed that contracts of around 40 lakh tonnes of exports have been inked. “However due to a lack of containers, physical lifting of sugar has been slow,” he said. Global demand for sugar, he said, is good but physical lifting is a problem.
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