Maharashtra tells sugar barons not to expect any subsidy

The state government has denied financial assistance to sugar industries, advised sugar barons to continue running their mills as a normal business, raise funds from open market and not expect any subsidies, state cooperatives minister Chandrakant Patil said here today.

He was speaking to reporters here after meeting a delegation of sugar mill owners, who demanded an interest free
loan of Rs 2,000 crore to the sugar industry. Incidentally, the statement came after Maharashtra Cooperative Sugar Mill Owners' Federation Chairman Vijaysingh Mohite Patil met Chandrakant Patil today.

Former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar along with Jayant Patil and Dilip Walse-Patil were other members of the delegation who met Chandrakant Patil. Mohite Patil said that they have demanded an interest free loan of Rs 2,000 crore to sugar mills to ensure that mills can pay the difference of Fair and Remunerable Price (FRP) to
sugar producing farmers.

"The Maharashtra state government has assured the assembly of relief to the sugar industry and will make available an interest free loan of Rs 2,000 crore," Mohite Patil said. He added that, since the balance sheets of sugar mills
are in the negative and the price of sugar in the market has drastically decreased, several sugar mills are not able to pay FRP to farmers.

"We have also demanded a subsidy of Rs 850 per tonne of sugarcane from the state government, to meet the FRP
requirement," Mohite Patil said. However, the minister for cooperatives rejected the delegation's demand of a subsidy to the sugar industry.

"It is a business and sugar barons should run their mills as a business. If I am a trader and I need financial
assistance, I will try to get it from a friend or through a loan. Similarly, sugar barons should raise funds from the open market and not rely on government subsidy," Chandrakant Patil said.

"The state's financial position is very bad. Thus the money needs to be raised from the market. Chief Minister
Devendra Fadnavis has called a meeting on June 10 with the finance minister and finance secretary to find a solution to raise Rs 2,000 crore," Chandrakant Patil said.

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