Govt open to giving export subsidy to sugar mills: Paswan

Govt open to giving export  subsidy to sugar mills: Paswan
He made it clear to mill owners that threats are not the right way to solve problems because farmers have other options. Facing payouts of around Rs 4,500 crore as cane arrears to farmers, private millers in UP, the second largest sugar producing state, have threatened to shut operations this year if cane prices are not linked to sugar rates.

‘The government is open to extending export subsidy on raw sugar and provide additional interest-free loans to mills to clear cane arrears provided mills give the guarantee, Paswan said. He expressed confidence that the stand off between the UP government and the mills over cane price policy would be resolved but criticised the millers' decision for first agreeing to pay higher cane price fixed by the state and later showing their inability to make payment to farmers.

‘UP millers are threatening to shut down operations. Who are they threatening? Are they threatening farmers? Farmers have many options. What options mills have? Farmers can grow other crops like wheat. But sugar mills, set up with crores of rupees of investment, cannot be converted into milk unit,’ Paswan said.

Stating that there are ups and down in any business, the minister said that it is ‘not the right approach’ for mills to call for suspension of their crushing operations if they are facing losses. ‘Do they share profits with the farmers when business is doing well?’

The minister was also of the view that mills should have not agreed to pay the higher cane price of Rs 280 per quintal for 2013-14 season as fixed by the UP government against Rs 210 per quintal
announced by the Centre.

‘When the centre fixes Rs 210 per quintal cane price, why mills are ready to pay Rs 280 per quintal price fixed by the state. Mills should have opposed then and there. Firstly, mills agree to pay the price fixed by the state and later you say you won't be able to pay this price,’ he said.


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