NCP-Congress defectors want Amit Shah to save their sugar mills in Maharashtra

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on October 20, 2021

Union Home Minister Amit Shah   -  PTI

Demand restructuring of loans and bailout package

The sugar barons who had left the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress to join the BJP in the hope that the latter would win the 2019 Assembly elections now find themselves in a tight spot. Alleging that the Uddhav Thackeray-led government was not helping their mills, they approached Union Minister for Home Affairs and Cooperation Amit Shah with a demand for restructuring of bank loans and a bailout package for the mills.

They were led by former chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, who had played an instrumental role in bringing the erstwhile NCP-Congress leaders to the BJP fold.

Global sugar market grateful for India supply

“State cooperative mills are facing problems for the last 2-3 years because of unseasonal rains and drought. Mills were not able to start crushing operations during the Covid-19 period. Some mills are facing short-margin problems, some are in NPA [non-performing assets]. We demanded that all mills must operate and loans must be restructured. Minister [Amit Shah] responded positively to the demand and he assured to take it forward. The Maharashtra government is discriminating [against some mills]. The [State] government is helping ruling party mills by going out of the way and others are shown rules [to deny help]. There should be a level playing field. There should be a package for all, so that restructuring [of loans] takes place,” Fadnavis told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Need to make the sugar industry value chain more beneficial to all stakeholders, says Food Secretary

Former Congress leader and Ahmednagar-based sugar baron Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, who was part of the delegation, said that for the last 25-30 years no central government, except the BJP, had shown a positive approach towards the sugar industry. Vikhe-Patil expressed confidence that the union government would help the mills. The Vikhe-Patil family, which had for decades been associated with Congress governments, had shifted loyalties to the BJP in 2019.

Several other sugar cooperative barons had similarly switched over as they hoped that the BJP in power would come to the aid of their mills and other cooperative bodies. Harshwardhan Patil of Indapur, who was for decades a minister in several Congress-led governments in Maharashtra, was part of the delegation that met Shah. Only a few days ago, Patil had publicly stated that he could now sleep in peace, with no inquiry agencies after him, as he was with the BJP. He later claimed that his statement had been misinterpreted.

Even earlier, Maharashtra mills have sought a bailout package, a two-year moratorium on loans, including a 12-15-year repayment period, restructuring of loans, and transportation and export subsidies.

Experts say that the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank (MSC) has repeatedly landed in trouble by giving bridge loans to factories. Banks are reconsidering their lending plans because of the problem of NPAs and low profit-making by mills against the backdrop of bumper sugar production and low demand.

Published on October 20, 2021

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like