‘No sugar imported from Pakistan’

first_imgPune: Under fire from the Opposition over import of sugar from Pakistan, the State government on Wednesday categorically denied any knowledge of the affair.Speaking in Solapur district, Maharashtra Cooperation Minister Subhash Deshmukh said it was possible that some traders had illicitly imported sugar from Pakistan.“To the best of my knowledge, no sugar has been imported from Pakistan as the Centre has doubled import duty on it. The State government will initiate a crack down against traders indulging in malpractice by importing the commodity at cheaper rates,” Mr. Deshmukh said.Earlier this week, opposition parties including the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the Congress and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) attacked the government over the issue.Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan hit out at the Central and State governments for importing sugar from Pakistan at a time when production in the State was at a record high, with stocks lying unsold and farmers having a tough time to sell their produce in the market.Decline in sugar pricesAcknowledging that a bumper harvest had brought about a host of problems brought on sugarcane farmers and other workers in the sugar sector, Mr. Deshmukh observed the inability of sugar mills to pay a decent FRP to farmers was due to the steep devaluation in sugar prices. “This year, owing to record production and consequent supply glut, the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) is going at barely ₹2,500 per tonne against a demand ₹3,500 per tonne,” he said.Insufficient subsidy He further stated that the Cabinet’s approval for a subsidy of ₹55 on every tonne of sugarcane sold to the mills was not enough to bring relief to farmers.“A delegation under the Chief Minister will be meeting Prime Minister Modi in Delhi regarding the impasse over sugar prices. We are hopeful that some resolution on the matter will be made in a week’s time,” informed Mr. Deshmukh.The Centre’s move was aimed at providing some form of financial succour to the farmers and the sugar industry wrestling with falling prices.In Maharashtra, of the 180-odd mills that had taken to sugarcane crushing, less than half had fully cleared their dues with farmers, with more than ₹2,000 crore yet to be paid by the mills to the farmers.Last month, the sugar commissioner had issued notices to more than 40 of these mills for defaulting on their dues.last_img

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