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Government’s sugar package hardly a relief: Activists

Government’s sugar package hardly a relief: Activists

JUN 12 2018


The central government's Rs 7,000 crore package for reviving the sugar industry hardly has any benefits for the farmers, said members of Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangahthan (RKMS) on Tuesday. While the cane dues are about Rs 22,000 crores, only Rs 1,175 crores are being used for clearing dues.


“A chunk of Rs 4,440 crores has been cleared for infrastructure for increasing ethanol production, subject to mills that will avail the facility and an additional Rs 1,500 crores will be an incentive for mills that will export two million metric tonnes of sugar,” said VM Singh, Convenor, RKMS.


Singh added that these exports are not going to see the light of the day as the international prices of sugar are hovering at Rs 22-24 per kilo as against domestic prices which are higher at Rs 28-32 a kilo.


Mill owners using an excuse of non-payment of dues because of fall in sugar prices is not acceptable, Singh maintained. “When sugar prices were high, did mill owners make timely payments? In 2007-08 when the sugar prices shot up from Rs 16 per kilo to Rs 40 per kilo, instead of sharing their profits or making timely payments, the sugar mill owners multiplied their units from 35 to 95,” said Singh. He also alleged that the mill owners diverted their money to energy plants instead.


Mill owners had always maintained that they were making losses for not paying cane farmers on time. When confronted in the court of law with balance sheets that showed profits, they said that they were encountering losses in the sugar segment and profiting from the by-products. “The court opined that profits from by-products have to be taken in account to assess the financial situation of the mill,” Singh said.


Sugar mills have given heavy dividends to their shareholders, loans are being given to it's subsidiary companies, for example, Bajaj Hindustan has increased it's tally of two mills in 2004 to 17 mills. Other companies which have increased reserves are DCM Shriram, Balrampur Chini Mills, Triveni Engineering and Dalmia Bharat Sugar, Singh added.



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