The crisis triggered by Uttar Pradesh’s ban on imported sugar reached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s doorstep on Wednesday, with millers asking the Centre to let one factory sell imported raws to another so that more sugar reaches markets.
“No decision has been taken to allow this yet,” a senior official, who didn’t wish to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media, told HT.
To shore up supplies, the Centre had allowed millers to go to other states to process imported sugar following UP’s ban on imports. The ban was enforced after farmers in the northern state said imports were coming in the way of their bargaining power with millers.
However, factories in the state have not able to process the bulk of nearly 9 lakh tonnes of imported raws in Maharashtra because of disputes over processing tariff.
A delegation of the Indian Sugar Mills Association, which met Singh in presence of Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, said “outright sale” would speed up processing and ease supplies.
India is the world’s largest sugar consumer and second largest producer, but is back to being a net importer for the first time since the 2005-06 surplus, pushing global prices to a 29-year high.