With the payment of fair and remunerative price (FRP) to sugarcane farmers for the present crushing season remaining a contentious issue, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is scheduled to chair a meeting of all stakeholders Friday to find a way out. Though 164 mills have been crushing for almost 45 days, a majority are yet to declare the payment schedule for the current season.
With the season starting with cane dues of over Rs 1,000 crore, the payment of FRP has been a major issue with both the mill owners and the farmers crossing swords over it. Mill owners have talked about their financial inability to pay FRP at one go, while the farmers’ groups have demanded payment of FRP in one installment. An earlier meeting in this regard, chaired by Cooperatives Minister Chandrakant Patil, had proved to be inconclusive. Patil had said he would arrange for a meeting with the CM, which will now take place in Nagpur on the sidelines of the ongoing winter session of the state legislature.
Sanjiv Babar, Managing Director of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories’ Federation, said mills were facing financial difficulty in paying the FRP. “Due to increased valuation of sugar, the banks have given us loan of Rs 1,400 per tonne of sugar produced, but in order to pay the FRP the mills have to arrange for Rs 600-700 per tonne more. The price of sugar has improved but it is not feasible to sell large quantity of sugar at one go,” he said.