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Thursday, Oct 24, 2002

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UP mills to cut cane prices

Harish Damodaran

NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh is headed for a major political crisis with sugar mills officially informing cane co-operative societies of their inability to pay growers even the Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) of cane fixed by the Centre for the 2002-03 crushing season (October-September).

The Chairmen of cane societies attached to individual factories have been told that at current price realisations for sugar (around Rs 1,200 per quintal), mills would have the capacity to pay only a cane price of Rs 70.17 per quintal in West UP, Rs 63.81 per quintal in Central UP and Rs 58.73 per quintal.

As against this, the corresponding SMPs (based on average sugar recoveries) in the three regions work out to Rs 75.14, Rs 71.34 and Rs 71.34 per quintal, respectively. The prices `advised' by the State Government for the current season is even higher at a uniform Rs 95 per quintal and Rs 100 per quintal for early maturing varieties.

In UP, sugar mills (including in the private sector) procure their entire sugarcane through cooperative societies, which act as the growers' link with the factory. Factories usually indicate their requirement of cane to the society three days in advance, based on which requisition slips are issued to the growers for supplying as per the calendar drawn up by the mill.

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