The sugar commissioner’s office has identified 13 sugar mills in Maharashtra that have begun operation without a valid crushing licence, and has started the process to issue notices to the top management of these mills.
Sugar mills in the state have to apply for a crushing licence and begin work on or after the start date as decided by the government. Mills that begin crushing without the licence invite action, including fine of Rs 500 per tonne of cane crushed. Starting this season, the sugar commissioner’s office has decided to lodge criminal cases against the management of errant mills.
Officials in the sugar commissioner’s office said 13 mills have come to their notice, most of which are in Pune district with some others in Solapur, Sangli and Satara. In some cases, mills that have not been issued licences have started operations early.
This season, Shekhar Gaikwad, the sugar commissioner, had made 100 per cent payment of Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) as a pre-condition for issuing the crushing licence. At the start of the process, 43 mills had unpaid dues, which had stopped them from getting the licence. Gaikwad’s office had issued instructions that only after the clearance of full FRP would the licence be issued. As many as 195 mills had applied for the licence of which 170 have been issued till date. At least 16 of the 43 mills have cleared their dues.
So far, 131 mills have starting operations in the state with 97.71 lakh tonnes of cane crushed and 8.3 lakh tonnes of sugar produced.