Updated: October 6, 2021 8:23:07 am
Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad has issued directions to all regional joint directors of sugar in the state to register criminal cases against managing directors, general managers and chief executive officers of mills that begin crushing operations before the official starting date of October 15.
Unlike other states, the Maharashtra government decides the start date of crushing season. Earlier, mills who began operations before that date were levied a hefty fine. However, such mills had approached the cooperation minister to get their fines stayed.
In a high power ministerial committee headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, which decides the start date of the crushing season, it was decided that FIRs should be registered against mill officials to put a stop to this practice.
A senior official of a cooperative mill in Kolhapur said this move puts the blame on the mill management, whereas it’s the chairman and board of directors that usually push for an early start to operations. “The managing directors in mills will have to put down their foot in case such requests come,” said the miller.
With 10 days left for the crushing season to start, the office of the sugar commissioner has received 195 applications for issuance of crushing licence. At least 32 licenses have already been issued with more in the pipeline. Sanjay Khatal, managing director of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation, said 200 mills are likely to undertake crushing this season. “Overall sentiments are high,” he said.
One of the main reasons for this optimism is the prevalent priceof raw and white sugar in domestic and international markets. Free on Board (FOB) price of raw sugar (the brownish crystal that is preferred for exports) is Rs 3,200-3,100 per quintal, which has pushed many millers to plan for production of raw sugar for exports for the first three months. Prices of white sugar in domestic market are over Rs 3,400-3,500 per quintal. Khatal said some mills have already exhausted their carry forward stock and so, would prepare some white sugar to start the season and then go for raw.
Till date, export agreements of 13 lakh tonnes have been inked with mills in Maharashtra alone inking 7-8 lakh tonnes. Mills are also going to produce ethanol from sugar/cane juice.
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