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Centre tells states to start buying PDS sugar from open market

The Centre has asked state governments to immediately start buying sugar from the open market to ensure supply to ration card holders as it is left with the stock to meet the Public Distribution System (PDS) requirement for current month only.

The Centre has partially decontrolled the sugar sector and mills are no longer obligated to supply sweetener to the Centre for the Public Distribution System.

In a letter to state chief ministers, Food Minister K V Thomas said that the centre has allocated sugar quota up to May 2013 and ‘it is imperative that the states take immediate action for procurement for future requirements.’

He also asked states to ‘initiate steps immediately to ensure that the supply of sugar through PDS is not affected during the period of transition and thereafter.’

On 4 April, the Centre decided to scrap the levy sugar mechanism, under which mills were obligated to supply 10 per cent of their production at a cheaper rate to the Centre to run ration shops. Now, the state governments are required to procure sugar from the open market through a transparent system. The Government of India will bear the difference between the ex-mill price of Rs 32 per kg and retail sugar price of PDS at Rs 13.50 per kg.

‘The Centre has decided to provide a subsidy at the rate of Rs 18.50 per kg to states for existing level of allocations so that sugar continues to be available to consumer under PDS at Rs 13.50 per kg,’ Thomas said in the letter.

The government supplies about 17-20 lakh tonnes annually through PDS at subsidised price bearing a subsidy of about Rs 2,600 crore annually, which may rise to Rs 5,300 crore in the decontrol period.

Besides, Thomas has also asked state governments to consider the Rangarajan Committee's other recommendations relating to cane area reservation, minimum distance criteria and adoption of cane price formula -- for implementation in a manner which is most appropriate.

Sugar production in the country is estimated at 24.5 million tonnes in the 2012-13 marketing year (October- September), as against the annual demand of 22 million tonnes.


TOP PRODUCER BAJAJ HINDUSTHAN POSTS `1.95 CR JAN-MARCH PROFIT

Bajaj Hindusthan, the country's largest sugar producer, on Thursday posted a standalone net profit of Rs 1.95 crore for the second quarter ended 31 March 2013.

The company had clocked a net profit at Rs 8.78 crore in the same quarter last financial year, which runs from October to September.

In a filing to the BSE, Bajaj Hindusthan said the results announced for the second quarter of the 2012-13 fiscal are not comparable with corresponding figures of the last year due to merger of Bajaj Eco-Tec Products Ltd with itself.

In the second quarter of this year, the company's total income from sugar segment and other business operations increased to Rs 1,297.16 crore from Rs 1,226.16 crore in the corresponding  period of last fiscal.

The revenue from sugar segment increased to Rs 1,124.43 crore in the quarter-ended March, this year, as against Rs 1,093.41 crore in the same period corresponding year.

Income from distillery division rose to Rs 162.48 crore from Rs 115.92 crore, while revenue from power business improved to Rs 223.09 crore from Rs 190.36 crore in the review period.

Besides, the company informed BSE that its Board has approved re-appointment of Shishir Bajaj as Chairman and Managing Director of the company for a tenure of five years with effect from 1 July , 2013 subject to necessary approvals by shareholders and others.

Bajaj Hindusthan has 14 sugar mills with cane crushing capacity of 1.36 lakh tonnes per day.
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