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Talks for sugar decontrol in a month: Pawar

business Updated: Sep 17, 2010 16:45 IST
Sharad Pawar

The central government hopes to start the consultative process with all stakeholders within a month on the issue of de-controlling the sugar industry, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said in New Delhi on Friday.

“We will definitely consult sugarcane-producing states. We will start the process after assessing the total crop situation,” the minister told reporters on the margins of a conference here on the prospects of food output in the upcoming season.

“I think, we will take another three-four weeks, maximum," the minister added, expecting the country's sugar output -- the second largest producer globally -- at around 23 million tonnes during the upcoming season, against 18.8 million tonnes this year.

The estimates shared by Pawar, who also oversees the food and consumer affairs portfolios, is a tad short of the industry estimates of 25 million tonnes during what is called the “sugar year” that starts in October and ends September.

A section of the sugar industry has been demanding decontrol as it has to part with a specified quantity of the produce, which is now stipulated at 20 percent, to the government at a lower price for distribution through ration shops.