Maharashtra CM offers support to sugar mills, stays silent on farm loan waivers
Fadnavis said the state’s sugar industry had been critical for the past few years owing to droughtmumbai Updated: Mar 28, 2017 09:38 IST
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis continued to remain silent regarding farm loan waivers, an issue that has stalled the state legislative assembly’s budget proceedings.
Addressing the annual general meeting of Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) on Monday, Fadnavis also declined to address various issues raised by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, such as the drastic decline in land under sugarcane cultivation.
However, Fadnavis said the state’s sugar industry had been critical for the past few years owing to drought. Terming this industry ‘rural Maharashtra’s main source of strength’, he said its problems needed to be addressed immediately.
Fadnavis said the government would support cooperative movements, particularly those of sugar mill owners. He, however, said the sugar sector must ensure that its practices are transparent, so stakeholders do not incur losses.
Fadnavis said the government would buy cogeneration power from sugar mills at a higher price so the mills would not face financial hardships.
“We will take a decision soon and ensure that the user is not financially burdened”, he added. Fadnavis shared the dais with prominent NCP leaders such former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, former finance minister Jayant Patil and Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil. Several Congress leaders attended the meeting. The NCP has stalled budget proceedings for more than two weeks, demanding that loan waivers be given to farmers.
The BJP’s partner Shiv Sena has also taken an aggressive stance on the issue, posing a serious problem for the government.