The sugar industry on Monday expressed disappointment over the deferment of import duty on sugar due to inflationary concerns, stating that the Centre should have considered the high production cost of the sweetener before taking such a decision.
Industry said it would again ask the government to consider their demand for imposition of duty on refined sugar imports to protect domestic mills from sliding prices. Last week, an empowered group of ministers (eGOM) on food had deferred taking a decision on levying duty on sugar imports.
"It is most unfortunate that the government has deferred a decision on imposing import duty on refined sugar because of inflationary pressure," Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) Deputy Director General M N Rao told PTI.
Rao said that the government should not expect retail sugar prices to slip to last year's level, considering the fact that mills have paid as much as Rs 250 per quintal for sugarcane in the current 2009-10 crop year (October-September).
"How can the government ignore high production costs and expect low prices?" he asked.
Sugar prices, which touched nearly Rs 50/kg in mid-January, have slid to Rs 32-34 a kg at present but still stand higher than last year.
National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Managing Director Vinay Kumar said, "We are disappointed that it has got deferred. We will again approach the government to consider our demands, otherwise we will not be able to pay good cane price to farmers next year."