In what can be called the first experiment of its kind in the sugar sector in the state, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to hand over the running of the lone UP Sugar Corporation mill at Mohiuddinpur in Meerut to experienced hands in the private sector.
The government has invited tenders from “reputed contractors/service providers and consultancy firms to undertake various jobs of repair and maintenance and operation of the 2500 TCD sugar mill in Mohiuddinpur, a unit of UP State Sugar Corporation, for the crushing season 2013-14”.
The Mohiuddinpur unit is the only sugar mill that managed to buck the wave of disinvestment when 10 other sugar mills were sold off for a song to private buyers in 2010 by the Mayawati government. In fact, the sale of the sugar mills saw a lot of controversy and the Lokayukta is presently conducting a probe into it.
In fact, the Mohiuddinpur unit was not sold off since it got embroiled in various legal issues as a result of which it has been closed for the last three years. In the meantime, all the employees of the sugar mill were given VRS. After the Samajwadi Party came to power, the UP Sugar Corporation tried to restart the mill, but realising that the task was a tough one, especially as the corporation had hived off all its assets and did not have any trained manpower or new technology to run it, it thought it best to outsource the mill to experts.
According to a state government official in the know, even after the factory is outsourced to private hands, the UP government will continue to have ownership in it. “Whosoever will run the mill will do so on a payment and the sugar factory will still be in the state government’s ownership. The government will make sugarcane available for crushing to the private party, which will crush it and hand over the various end-products, be it sugar, molasses, bagasse or press mud, back to the government,” he said, adding that this is the first time the state is attempting to do such a thing.