A day after ‘Halla Bol’ protest led by Raju Shetti, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana (SSS) chief and Lok Sabha MP, the sugar commissionerate on Tuesday prepared revenue recovery code (RRC) orders against 39 sugar mills of the state for failing to pay fair and remunerative prices (FRP) to sugarcane cultivators. The order is likely to be served to these mills on Wednesday.The first phase of the action includes issuance of revenue recovery code order which enables the district collectorate to confiscate existing sugar stock as well as assets of mills for failing to pay fair and remunerative price due to be given to cane growers. Fair and remunerative price is equivalent to support price determined by the Centre. “We have decided to issue revenue recovery code orders against 39 mills for pending Rs 1,813 crore. In a recently held hearing of these 39 sugar mills, it was found that most of them had paid fair and remunerative price due only between 0 and 15 per cent. As the sugar commissioner is in Mumbai today (January 29), we will issue the orders on Wednesday after getting his signature on the document,” said an official from sugar commissionerate involved in drafting the order.The action has come in the wake of 10,000 farmers gathering at Sugar Commissionerate on Monday demanding immediate clearance of fair and remunerative prices due to cane farmers. The protestors relented only after Shekhar Gaikwad, sugar commissioner, assured them of action against sugar mills which have not cleared farmers’ dues.On January 24, the sugar commissioner had conducted a hearing of the 39 mills on pending fair and remunerative prices, though the latter demanded more time to pay the dues.“To expedite the clearing of the dues, we recently completed the hearing process of 39 sugar factories and by Tuesday, district-wise orders will be issued to initiate action against these millers by issuance of revenue recovery certificates (RCC) under the provisions of the Sugar Act (price regulation),” he stated.According to sugar commissionerate officials, some of these mills located at Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, Solapur, Beed and Osmanabad are associated with political leaders.As per Revenue Recovery Act, 1890 if sugar mill owners failed to meet the deadline of FRP payments set by sugar commissioner, then revenue recovery code department will give authority to respective district collectorate to take necessary action and seize the available sugar stock along with physical assets of the defaulter mills. A Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana delegation met sugar commissioner on Monday demanding strict action against the 180 sugar mills that failed to pay Rs 5,300 fair and remunerative prices due.Firms run by political bigwigs top errant listFair and remunerative price (FRP) of sugarcane cultivators is becoming a major issue for farmers of western Maharashtra with almost 73 sugar mills with links to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politicians from the state failing to pay Rs 1,505 crore dues.Maharashtra’s 183 sugar mills owe Rs 5,300 crore to farmers by the end of December 31, according to statistic shared by sugar commissionerate. Raju Shetti, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader, said that one third of these defaulting factories are owned or controlled by politicians from the BJP and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).“Of the 183 sugar mills in the state, at least 73 are controlled by BJP leaders, followed by 53 associated with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), 44 by Congress, Shiv Sena (12) and Shetkari Kamgar Paksh (1). Together, they owe Rs 5,323 crore to the sugarcane farmers. The remaining 14 mills are controlled by non-politicians, according to the sugar commissionerate Pune,” Shetti said.The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader alleged that these mill owners are flouting the sugarcane (control) order, 1966, that requires it to pay the government-set price to farmers within 14 days of receiving supply and the ruling BJP government leaders are ignoring the farmers’ plight.Shetti said, “We have collected data from sugar commissioner and it shows that the mills associated with BJP leaders have failed to pay Rs 1,505 crore to farmers. When Subhash Deshmukh, Maharashtra’s minister for cooperative, has failed to pay Rs 104 crore FPR due associated with his three sugar mills then what can we accept from others?”According to the Shetti, Pankaja Munde, minister of rural development, women and child Welfare, owes Rs 64 crore. Raosaheb Dadarao Danve, BJP Maharashtra state president, Rs 18.41 crore; Vinod Tawde, Maharashtra education and cultural minister, Rs 13.15 crore; Ajit Pawar and family, Rs 245 crore; Jayant Patil, NCP state president, Rs 159 core; Ashok Chavan, former chief minister of Maharashtra, Rs 22 crore; and Dilip Deshmukh, Rs 60 crore respectively. “If such political bigwigs are associated with non-payment of FRP to cane cultivators, then how can the sugar commissioner dare to take action against them?” Shetti alleged.