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Sugar mills owe Rs 12,270 crore to cane farmers: Govt

New delhi: Sugar mills owed Rs 12,270 crore to cane farmers at the end of last month, the government said today.

It also said that sugar output estimates may be revised downward for the 2016-17 marketing year from earlier forecast of 225.21 lakh tonnes but there is sufficient stock in the country to meet domestic demand.

“As on February 28, 2017, an amount of Rs 12,269.78 crore are outstanding against the sugar mills as sugarcane dues of farmers for the sugar season 2016-17, 2015-16, 2014-15 and earlier sugar seasons,” Minister of State for Food C R Chaudhary said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

Sugar season or marketing year runs from October to September.

The Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966 stipulates payment of cane price withing 14 days of supply, failing which the mills have to pay 15 per cent interest on amount due for the delayed period beyond 14 days, he said.

Chaudhary said the powers to enforce this provision are delegated and vested with state governments and the Centre keep advising them to take strict action against defaulting mills.

In reply to a separate query, the minister said there is no crisis of sugar in the country.

“There was surplus sugar production continuously during the last six sugar seasons. With the carry over stock of 77 lakh tonnes of sugar and estimated production in the current sugar season 2016-17, there is sufficient sugar available to meet the domestic requirement consumption,” Chaudhary said.

He said sugar production has been initially estimated at 225.21 lakh tonnes during the current 2016-17 marketing year as against 251.21 lakh tonnes in the previous year.

“However, this estimate may be revised downward in view of reported impact of drought conditions in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the last sugar season,” he said, the output would not fall in Uttar Pradesh.