Govt to release 5 lakh tonnes sugar to control price

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New Delhi, Aug 9 (UNI) Ahead of the efestive season the union government has decided to release an additional five lakh tonnes of non-levy sugar in August-September to control the rising price of the commodity in the open market in spite of its increased availibility.

The Department of Food and Public Distribution today said the release of five lakh tonnes of sugar was in addition to 48 lakh tonnes already available in the July-September quarter; 12 lakh tonnes more than what was available in the comparable period last year.

The Department estimated the production of 220 lakh tonnes of sugar this season as against 210 lakh tonnes last year, adding it could go up by an additional 5 to 7 per cent if weather condition remained favourable.

The food department's optimism, however, does not inspire confidence as the area under sugarcane cultivation has come down by 9 lakh hectares to 44.1 lakh hectares this year from hectares from 53 lakh hectares last year, according to the Agriculture ministry.

The Food Department projected comfortable availibity of 330 lakh tonnes of sugar this year against estimated consumption of 220 lakh tonnes, it said in a statement.

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