IndiaMaharashtra

Sugarcane announcement mandatory before the season?

|| Sanjay Bapat

The report of the expert committee was submitted to the state government
Mumbai: In determining the fair and reasonable rate (FRP) of sugarcane from the coming crushing season in the state, sugar extraction and harvesting and transportation cost of the same season should be taken into consideration. A study group of experts set up by the state government has urged the state government to make it mandatory for sugar mills to publish in two local newspapers at least 15 days before the start of the season to prevent fraud. Farmers are watching the decision of the state government.

Sugar mills are required to pay fair and reasonable rate (FRP) of sugarcane to the concerned farmers within 14 days of purchase of sugarcane. However, the Center has recommended that the FRP be issued in phases as the sugar mills are facing difficulties. Accordingly, the government had appointed a study group under the chairmanship of Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad to decide the policy of the state. The committee has submitted its report to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday.

The sugar extraction from the previous season was being taken into consideration while fixing the FRP in the state till date. However, 47 sugar factories were closed in the state during the year 2019-20. So the question was how to fix the FRP of these factories this year. In determining the FRP of the factory from this season onwards, the sugar extraction and cane harvesting and transportation cost of the same season should be taken into consideration. Also, when giving temporary FRP at the beginning of the season, the average cane harvesting and transportation cost for the last three years should be taken into consideration. The final FRP after the end of the season should also take into account the cost of harvesting and transportation for the season, the report said.

Also, factories will be allowed to pay higher rates to farmers. Also, after the end of the season, the difference should be fixed by deducting the amount given to the farmers from the final cane price fixed earlier and it should be given to the farmers within 14 days after the end of the season. The recommendation committee has decided to consider 9.50 per cent for Nagpur, Amravati and Aurangabad divisions, 10 per cent for Nashik division and 10.50 per cent for Pune revenue division while giving temporary FRP at the beginning of the season.

Factories which use sugarcane juice, syrup, B-heavy molasses etc. for ethanol production. When determining the final sugar extraction of such factories for FRP, the reduction in extraction due to use of sugarcane juice, syrup, B-heavy molasses for ethanol production should be taken into consideration. The committee also recommended that the reduction should be certified by competent bodies as determined by the central government.

What’s in the report?

After the start of the crushing season, till the end of the crushing season, the cane rate should be given to the farmers as per the FRP rate of 9.50 per cent and 10 per cent for the original sugar extraction announced by the Central Government. From this FRP, the remaining amount should be paid to the farmers after deducting the probable amount as per the previous experience for sugarcane harvesting and expenses for that season. Details of this procedure as well as possible amounts deducted from previous experience should be published by the factories through public notice boards as well as in local newspapers.

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