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Sugar mills owe Rs 16,334 cr to cane farmers as of Feb-end


New Delhi: Sugar mills owed Rs 16,364 crore to sugarcane farmers till February of the current marketing year, starting October 2014, due to low prices of sweetener in retail markets.

“The outstanding sugarcane dues are mainly on account of low realisation from sale of sugar,” Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

Out of the total sugarcane arrears, Uttar Pradesh-based sugar mills owed maximum at Rs 7,870.57 crore, followed by Maharashtra at Rs 2,532.49 crore.

Cane arrears in Karnataka stood at Rs 2,154.97 crore as on February 28 of 2014-15 marketing year (October-September).

Bihar millers owed Rs 581 crore, while mills in Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Punjab had an outstanding cane price payment to the tune of Rs 521.9 crore, Rs 516.11 crore and Rs 507.24 crore, respectively.

Uttarakhand millers owe Rs 473.37 crore to sugarcane farmers.

In order to facilitate clearance of cane price arrears, Paswan said the government had recently approved subsidy of Rs 4,000 per tonne on export up to 1.4 million tonnes of raw sugar in the ongoing 2014-15 marketing year.

“There have been some budgetary constraints in disbursement of export incentive for the export of raw sugar undertaken under the scheme during the sugar season 2013-14.

“However, corrective measures have been taken to remove such constraints to facilitate early disbursal,” Paswan said.

Sugar production of India, the world’s second-largest producer, is estimated at 26.5 million tonnes in the 2014-15 marketing year as compared to 24.55 million tonnes in the previous year, according to government data.

In first six months of 2014-15 marketing year, production has increased by over 14 per cent to 22.18 million tonnes, according to industry body ISMA.

The domestic demand is pegged at 24.8 million tonnes in the current marketing year, ending September.

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