August 24, 2017 9:22:00 pm
Ahead of the cane crushing season, many sugar mills of Punjab have been waiting for the lifting of the lakhs of quintals ‘molasses’ worth several crores of the last cane crushing season. As the company engaged in lifting and selling had delayed the work reason, now, these mills have been facing double loss, due to delay in lifting, the rate of molasses have come down substantially and some of the mills, which do not have enough space to store molasses tankers, have been paying rent of the place where these have been kept. Also, the mills do not have the space to store the fresh molasses as the cane crushing will start in coming November month.
The delay is also put a question mark on the working of the Punjab state Federation of Cooperative sugar mill (Sugarfed) which deals with this process. Sugarfed should have taken the timely action against the company so that mills, which are already reeling under losses, could have get a better price for their molasses.
Molasses is a byproduct of the sugarcane and is used either in the distilleries or in cattle feed making industry. The rate of Molasses remains between Rs. 350 to 550 per quintal.
Punjab has 16 Sugar Mills including seven private and nine under cooperative sector and all the nine mills have the capacity between 1200 to 1600 Tonnes Crushing Per Day (TCD) except the Bhohpur Cooperative Mill, which is smallest with 1016 TCD capacity. The cooperative mills are mostly under losses. These Cooperative mills produced 18 to 20 lakh quintals molasses every year.
It is learnt that between 4-5 lakh quintals molasses has been lying in the 6-cooperative mills of the state including nearly one lakh each molasses at Nawanshahr and Budhewal mills, nearly 50,000 quintals in Bhogpur mill and remaining at Nakodar, Morinda and Fazilka mills. Already these cooperative mills are running into losses.
“A tender was called by Sugarfed for lifting in June this year and two private companies were given the work after tendering for 9-mills but one of the companies left it midway when the rate of molasses, which was Rs. 550 quintals in June, had come down to Rs. 350 to 400 some over a month back,” said a source in (Sugerfed), adding that now a fresh tender will be called soon. He also said that government should have taken the action against company which delayed the lifting and due to delay now the rate of molasses has also come down to Rs. 350 to 400 per quintal.
“We have even taken a place on rent to keep our tankers of molasses and bearing this expenditure due to delay in lifting,” said Senior Vice Chairman of Nawanshahr Sugar Mill, Mangat Singh, adding that they held a meeting over this today and informed to Sugerfed to take necessary action and asked the company, which left the molasses lifting work midway, to complete it.
The mill owners called it a cheating on the behalf of the company and said that government should take action against it.
In Punjab, around 70 per cent cane grown on nearly one lakh hectares area (With an average production of around 720 quintal cane per hectare) is crushed by the seven private mills. Managing Director Sugarfed, Arun Sekhri, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. Cane Commissioner Punjab, Jaswant Singh, when contacted, said that Sugerfed deals with this process as his office has a responsibility of looking into the interest of cane growers and their produce.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.