Sugar Commissioner Sehgar Kejriwal has issued an order to all the regional co-directors of the state to register criminal cases against the managing directors, general managers and chief executive officers of the factories who will start the crushing operations before the official opening date of October 15.
Unlike other states, the Maharashtra government decides the start date of the crushing season. Previously, factories that started operating before that date were subject to higher fines. However, such mills approached the Minister of Cooperation to stop their fines.
The high-powered cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Uttam Thackeray, has decided to register an FIR against the mill officials to put an end to the practice, which will decide the start date of the crushing season.
According to a senior official of a co-operative factory in Kolhapur, the move is blaming the mill management, while the chairman and board of directors are generally starting operations. “Managing directors at the mill should keep their feet down if such requests come in,” Miller said.
With 10 days left until the start of the crushing season, the Sugar Commissioner’s Office has received 195 applications for crushing licenses. At least 32 licenses have already been issued. Sanjay Kattal, managing director of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Mills Federation, said 200 mills would be crushed this season. “Overall feelings are high,” he said.
A major reason for this optimism is the high price of crude and white sugar in the domestic and international markets. The free price of raw sugar (preferred brown crystal for export) is Rs. 3,200-3,100, which plans several millers to produce raw sugar for export in the first three months. The price of white sugar in the domestic market is above Rs. 3,400-3,500 per quintal. Kattal said some mills have already run out of their carry forward stock, so they prepare a little white sugar to start the season and then go green.
To date, 13 lakh tonnes of export contracts have been signed with 7-8 lakh tonnes of plants in Maharashtra alone. The mills are going to produce ethanol from sugar / cane juice.