Maharashtra continues to mount pressure on sugar mills



The Maharashtra State Sugar Commissionerate is continuing to pressure sugar mills for payment of fair and remunerative price (FRP), with  hearings in progress against 26 mills that have a shortfall of Rs 400 per tonne for cane payments made to farmers until February 15, 2015.

Vipin Sharma, state sugar commissioner, told FE that hearings for 6 mills were held on Monday followed by hearings for another 6 on Tuesday.

Hearings will be conducted for around 12 mills in the next few days he said, adding that the effort is to reduce the gap in FRP payment to below Rs 300 per tonne. “Around 3 mills have paid some amount, reducing the gap in FRP payments and we hope that more mills come forward and make payments reducing the gap further,” he said. Until now the gap in payments was to the tune of Rs 460-470 a tonne for cane crushed till February 15.  Mills have been given time of 10 days to reduce this gap. Till date, mills have made FRP payments of Rs 7600 crore and dues of Rs 2600 crore are pending, the commissioner said. The overall expected payment comes upto Rs 10,400 crore, he added. The commissionerate will monitor the situation and begin fresh hearings for mills with a gap in payment of over Rs 300 per tonne, he said.

Earlier, the commissionerate had sought reports from regional joint directors  before taking a call on the issue of FRP.

“The commissionerate had sought reports on payments made by millers for cane crushed till January 31. Then the arrears from these mills are to the tune of Rs 2,525 crore and if we take payments till February 15 into account, these arrears could go upto Rs 2,500 crore, he said.