Agri Business

Sugar mills would face extinction like textile mills in Mumbai, warns Sharad Pawar

Our Bureau Pune | Updated on October 14, 2021

“Mills don’t have the capacity to pay one-time FRP”

As the chorus for a one-time payment of Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) for sugarcane amplifies in Maharashtra, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar today warned that exaggerated demands would land sugar mills in trouble and the industry would face the fate of textile mills in Mumbai.

Maharashtra sugar farmers have demanded that all mills must pay one-time FRP and have warned of agitations if mills fail to fulfil the demand. Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Pawar recalled the 1982 textile strike by workers in Mumbai after which many mills were closed and others moved out of Mumbai.

“Once Mumbai was the centre of the textile industry in the country. One of our colleagues insisted on impractical demands and it led to the closure of mills. We had suggested these leaders in State legislature don’t stretch to the limit. But the matter was stretched too far. As a result, most of the textile mills in Mumbai and Maharashtra closed operations forever,” he said.

“This year (sugar season) about 175 sugar mills will start crushing season which continues for about three and half months. All these mills will produce sugar at once and if all mills bring the stock in the market at the same time prices are going to collapse. There will be no demand in the market. Ultimately this is going to affect farmers. I request concerned (farmer leaders) to understand the economics of mills,” said Pawar.

“Mills don’t have the capacity to pay (one-time FRP). But if they decide to pay, they will take loans for it and pay interest. This is farmers’ money. One cannot deny the possibility of mills landing in trouble. Leaders should not do this,” said Pawar.

He said that sugar mills in Gujarat pay 50 per cent payment to farmers after the cane is brought for crushing. Another 30 per cent amount is paid after two months and the remaining amount is paid after the stock is sold. Pawar said that for many years Maharashtra sugar mills followed the same process. But in recent times demands and agitations for one time instalment have started.

Auction of mills was HC’s decision

Pawar refuted allegations that politicos including his nephew Ajit Pawar took defunct mills on lease at less price. The HC had ordered the State to ensure that closed mills start operations. The State Co-operative Bank and the government acted as per the HC ruling, Pawar said. He added that income-tax department officials have continued to raid residents of Pawar family members for the sixth consecutive day . He alleged that the BJP has realised that it cannot topple the State government and hence is targeting people close to the ruling alliance leaders.

Published on October 13, 2021

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