Govt may go for interest-free loans, rate revision to save sugar industry

Nov 21 2013, 08:42 IST
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SummaryIn a bid to bolster the beleaguered sugar industry, the government may go for interest-free

cash loss of R3,000 crore last year.

A closed-door meet was also held in Maharashtra on late Tuesday night between chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, state cooperation minister Harshavardhan Patil to discuss the sops sought by the industry in the state from the Centre.

In addition to an interest subvention package, Maharashtra millers have also asked for transport subsidies of R500 a quintal from the Centre and R300 a quintal from the state government and demanded the import duty be raised from 15% to 60%.

The sector also wants an export subsidy of R5,000 a tonne to bridge the gap between the cost of production and prices in the international market. The sector has urged the Centre to create a buffer stock of five million tonnes.

The sugar industries in UP and Maharashtra that produce 90% of the country's annual sugar production have not started crushing sugarcane in the new crop year for 2013-14 because of mounting cane arrears, rising stocks and demand from the farmers for higher cane prices.

ISMA had recently stated that industry across the country has suffered substantial losses during the last sugar season.

Key reasons attributed for these losses include unreasonably high sugarcane prices fixed or influenced by respective state governments and low sugar prices.

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