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Sugar mills to start operations next month: UP government

"Sugar crushing will start the by third week of November. Some mills in West UP will start crushing by November 10," said Subhash Chandra Sharma, the state’s cane commissioner.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Oct 30, 2014, 11.07 AM IST
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"Sugar crushing will start the by third week of November. Some mills in West UP will start crushing by November 10," said Subhash Chandra Sharma, the state’s cane commissioner. 
"Sugar crushing will start the by third week of November. Some mills in West UP will start crushing by November 10," said Subhash Chandra Sharma, the state’s cane commissioner. 
NEW DELHI: Cane crushing in Uttar Pradesh, the nation’s second largest sugar producer behind Maharashtra, is set to commence within a fortnight. But private mills say it may take more than a month for many of them to start operators and that they are waiting for the state government to announce the final cane purchase price.

“Mills in Uttar Pradesh have assured the state sugar commissioner that they will start cane crushing,” said Union Food Secretary Sudhir Kumar.

“Sugar crushing will start the by third week of November. Some mills in west UP will start crushing by November 10,” said Subhash Chandra Sharma, the state’s cane commissioner.

India’s sugar production in the 2014-15 season, which started on October 1, is estimated to increase to 25.5 million tonnes from 24.5 million tonnes last year, a government official said. In Uttar Pradesh, private mills had threatened to stay away from crushing over the price of cane they need to pay farmers.

“On some assurance by the state government, sugar companies have started maintenance of their mills. They should take another 40 days from now to be ready for crushing,” said Indian Sugar Mills Association Director-General Abinash Verma. “They will wait for government announcement on a rationalised cane pricing policy or a mechanism or formula by which cane price gets determined in relation to revenue generation by the mills before starting the crushing operations.”

In the 2013-14 season, the state had fixed the price at Rs 280 a quintal, more than the Rs 210 set by the Central government. UP is likely to make a marginal rise to the price this year, and an announcement is likely after November 10.

Meanwhile, mills have been steadily clearing arrears to farmers, and according to government data, only Rs 2,302 crore of the initial Rs 19,388 crore due for the 2013-14 season is still remaining.

According to initial estimates, sugar production in the state would be 6.23 million tonnes this season, compared with 6.50 million tonnes in 2013-14, said Cane Commissioner Sharma. The drop is largely due to a fall in planting of sugarcane as a result of weak monsoon rains.

A state government official said more than 20 private and cooperative mills from the total 119 in the state will start operations during November 10-15. He said mills owned by India Potash, Dalmia Bharat, Wave Industries, DCM Shriram and Balrampur Chini Mills would start cane crushing soon.

The biggest private operator in the state is Bajaj Hindusthan with 15 mills, followed by Balrampur with 11 units. Triveni has seven units and Dhampur and Indian Potash, five each.
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