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Sugar: Centre says no to Nepal,yes to EU

India is learnt to have refused visiting Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav’s request to provide sugar to the neighbouring country.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 18, 2010 3:55:34 am

India is learnt to have refused visiting Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav’s request to provide sugar to the neighbouring country. The denial comes at a time when the Centre’s decision to export 10,000 tonnes of sugar to the European Union has sparked a blame-game among UPA partners,all of whom wish to shirk responsibility for the decision as sugar prices remain high.

AICC spokesman Manish Tewari said that the Commerce Ministry,headed by Anand Sharma,had given permission to export sugar at the insistence of the Indian Sugar Exim Corporation,“which squarely falls within the larger family of the Agriculture Ministry”. Tewari,however,added that he had been informed by the Commerce Ministry that the decision to export sugar to the EU was because of “contractual obligation”.

“I spoke to the Commerce Minister today. It is true that permission (to export sugar) has been given. We are told that it was under contractual obligation. The (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) notification says that authorisation was given at the request of Sugar Exim Corporation,which squarely falls within the larger family of Agriculture Ministry. Commerce Ministry or Agriculture Ministry will be in a better position to explain it (decision to export),” Tewari told reporters here.

Early Wednesday morning,Food & Civil Supplies Minister Sharad Pawar expressed ignorance about the government’s decision. Pawar sought to brush his hands off the controversial issue saying,“I have no information about it.”

The Opposition BJP,on Tuesday,criticised the Centre’s decision to export sugar to the EU. “The government’s decision to export 10,000 tonnes of sugar to the EU at a time when its prices have gone up by 58.96 per cent in a year,shows complete lack of coordination among its departments. The left hand does not seem to know what the right hand is doing,” BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters here.

Congress sources said that the UPA government was so “sensitive” about the sky-rocketing prices of sugar that it had refused to give sugar to even Nepal.

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