Six sugar mills in the state have violated their prescribed sales quota, according to the sugar commissioner’s office. The mills, which were among the 10 mills that faced a sales audit by the sugar commissioner’s office, may face penal action.
Last year, the central government had reinstated the release mechanism in the sugar sector and imposed a monthly sales quota on each mill, in a bid to stymie supply of sugar and keep prices stable. The central government had also fixed the minimum selling price (MSP) of sugar at Rs 3,100 per quintal and instructed mills to adhere to the directive.
However, the sugar commissioner’s office has received several complaints about mills selling their stock below the MSP, in order to raise funds to pay the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) to the cane growers. Acting on such complaints, Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad had ordered an audit of the sales report of certain mills that were suspected of underselling their products.
During the audit, six mills were found to have violated the quota given to them and sold more than their stipulated stock. “Such mills can face penal action under the Essential Commodities Act,” said an officer of the sugar commissionerate.
Mills across the state, meanwhile, are facing a serious liquidity crunch due to low sales. By the end of February, Maharashtra had reported as much as 112.74 lakh tonnes (lt) of sugar stock. The state had stared the cane crushing season with an opening stock of 53.36 lt and the tepid sales have posed a serious crisis for the mills.
As the crushing season nears its end, Maharashtra is expected to cross, or at least equal, last year’s sugar production figures. Last year, Maharashtra has produced 107 lt of sugar, an all-time high production figure.
Till Wednesday, of the 195 mills which have taken season, 169 have closed down. The state has reported crushing of 946.60 lt of cane and produced 106.37 lt of sugar.