AT THE start of the 2021-22 sugarcane crushing season, Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Limited, had faced action from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which had provincially attached its property. The action by the central agency was allegedly due to financial irregularities in the manner the erstwhile cooperative mill was sold to a private party by the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank. But at the end of the season, this mill, located in the Karad taluka of Satara district, clocked the second highest cane crushing with 19.98 lakh tonnes of cane crushed.
Back in July last year, the central agency had taken action against the mill implicating the family of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar for his alleged role in the undervalued sale of the mill. Pawar had denied the allegations and pointed out how all rules were followed during the auction of the mill. Founded in 2003 by former minister Shalini Patil, the cooperative mill had come into trouble soon afterwards as bank and farmer dues started rising. The mill was put up for auction by the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank and was subsequently purchased by a private party.
Following the action by ED, the Income Tax department had also began an inquiry. Such action by the central agencies had seen farmers being worried about the fate of their cane. Also, given the fact that three cooperative mills had failed to raise enough capital to start their season.
As the season progressed, sugar commissioner’s office had issued crushing license to Jarandeshwar mill after it had fulfilled all the conditions laid by it. During the season of 2020-21, Jarandeshwar had reported crushing of 14.38 lakh tonnes of cane and paid farmers Rs 420.67 crores as the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) to its growers. At the end of 2021-22 cane crushing season, Jarandeshwar has reported crushing of 19.98 lakh tonnes of cane. This was the second highest cane crushed by a single mill this season coming only after the 24.78 lakh tonnes of cane crushed by the Vitthalrao Shinde Cooperative Sugar Mill in taluka Madha of Solapur. In terms of sugar produced, Jarandeshwar had produced 2.25 lakh tonnes of the sweetener which was the third highest in the state. The mill till date has paid Rs 531.79 crore to its growers as against the Rs 525.05 crore it had to pay.
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For growers of Satara, especially those in the talukas of Wai, Khandala, Satara, and Karad, Jarandeshwar had come to the rescue as three cooperative mills which normally procure cane in these areas had remained shut.
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