The Maharashtra government has decided to ask the Centre for Rs 2,000 crore as subsidy to the sugar factories, to help them pay the fair remunerative price (FRP) to sugarcane farmers. The amount, if sanctioned, will be given under the sugar development fund.
A delegation — led by Raosaheb Danve, Union minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution and newly appointed state unit chief of BJP, and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis — will meet Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on January 17 in New Delhi to discuss the sugar crisis in the state.
The state is expected to announce a subsidy of Rs 200 to Rs 300 a metric tonne to the sugar factories that have started crushing sugarcane.
Moreover, the state has served notices to 160 sugar factories that have failed to pay the FRP benchmarked by the government.
“We have served notices to the factories, telling them to pay the FRP or we will seize their sugar stock. Despite the notices, we will have to take cautious steps in terms of action as it will subsequently affect the welfare of the farmers,” said Chandrakant Patil, cooperation minister.
“We have waived off the purchase tax amounting to Rs 876 crore. This has already provided relief of about Rs 100 a tonne to the factories. In addition, we will offer approximately Rs 200 a tonne through the central fund. We expect the factories to bear the remaining gap of about Rs 300 a tonne to match the FRP fixed by the government,” he added.
On Monday, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana led by MP Raju Shetti had staged a protest, which turned violent, on the issue outside the sugar commissionerate in Pune.
They have been demanding the first instalment to be paid to farmers for sugarcane as per the FRP, which has been fixed as Rs 2,200 a tonne this year. However, the minister said only 17 of the 174 factories have paid more than the FRP, while the remaining have been paying less than the stipulated price.
Patil said the subsidy doled out to the factories will be deposited into the accounts of the farmers to ensure that the money is not siphoned off by the factories.