India plans export of 30 MMT sugar

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New Delhi, Mar 19 (UNI) India will make all efforts to export 30 lakh tonnes of sugar in the international markets in a year where the country is experiencing the sugar glut, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said today.

Replying to the debate on the Sugar amendments to Sugar Development Fund Act 1982 in Rajya Sabha, Mr Pawar explaining the five year sugar cycle trends, said that the prices had fallen for third year in succession and many units in Maharasthra and Uttar Pradesh had not even started sugar production. The situation of sugar mills in Maharashtra and Karnataka was such that the crushing could not happen and the state governments were paying Rs 25,000 per hectare compensation to the sugar mills.

The international market situation was so very dicey that when India has to purchase sugar, the prices will go up and the situation would be reversed and there will be a steep fall because of the quantity of purchase. Sugar prices are not favourable presently, nevertheless we intend to export 30 lakh tonnes, he said.

The minister said the sugar mills will be paid funds equavalent to five per cent of interest on loans on any central government approved schemes and the funds thus provided shall be exclusively used for paying off the farmers dues in 14 days. In case the millers delay the payment beyond two weeks, they would be levied 14 per cent interest on dues payable to farmers. In case of any default after this, the Deputy Commissioners of the districts would be empowered to recover the dues from these mills as 'revenue and land arrears' -- recovering the dues by auctioning off the company's stocks, machinery and other company assets and paying the dues of the farmers, he said.

We are confident that through the amendments, the state governments will play a stronger and effective role to help farmers and they have to be alert to help the farmers, he said.

He said the Government had paid Rs 529 crore to the sugar mills for improving the quality of sugar cane and for developing and promoting newer sugar cane varieties in the country. Similarly Rs 1572 crore was paid for the millers to modernise and bring in technological changes. The money provided for promoting cogeneration in the sugar mills was Rs 350 crore. The funds provided for ethanol development was Rs 32 crore.

The Rajya Sabha returned the Sugar Development Fund (Amendment) Bill 2008 which has already been passed by the lower House.

UNI MCN VD DB1550

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