Nine sugar mills in Maharashtra have been fined by the state sugar commissioner’s office for starting their operations without the requisite crushing licence.
The office of the sugar commissioner issues licences for mills, without which they are not allowed to start their operations. Before issuing the licence, the sugar commissioner’s office checks details such as cane availability, clearance of past dues and payment of government dues by the mill concerned.
The crushing licence is an important regulatory tool that allows the office of the sugar commissioner to ensure mills pay their farmers on time. If a mills fails to clear its dues, the sugar commissioner refuses to issue a licence for the next season.
Mills which start their operations without a licence are liable to be fined Rs 500/tonne of cane crushed.
Of the nine mills which have been fined, four mills are from Pune, two from Sangli, one from Satara and two are from Solapur. Seven of the mills are cooperative while two are private.
Orders on fines can be challenged before the cooperation minister.
The total quantum of fine amounts to nearly Rs 38.13 crore. In case mills neither pay the fine nor get a stay from the cooperative minister, they are not issued licences for the next season.