UP govt still searching bidders for privatisation of sugar mills

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Lucknow, Sep 12 (UNI) Failing to attract potential bidders for privatisation of 31 sugar mills of the UP State Sugar Corporation, the state government has now extended the filing of the financial bids by remaining four bidders till September 16.

Earlier five companies-- Gammon India, Dalmia, Era, Chaddha and Noida-based Uflex-- had submitted expressions of interests (EoIs) in accordance with the modified terms and conditions in July this year.

However, only one company, Gammon India, filed the financial bid and the other four companies failed to file their financial bids, which were opened here on September 6 last.

A sugar department source here today said the date was extended for the four other bidders to enable them to file their financial bids.'' ''If the four bidders fail to submit their financial bid by September 16, then the government would have no option rather than to consider the price quoted by the lone Gammon India.'' Gammon India, on September 6, had applied seeking permission for allowing one of its 100 per cent owned subsidiary to take part in the bidding process and the government had accepted the request.

The sources however added that the price quoted by the Gammon India should not be lower than the reserve price worked out by the valuation experts hired by the government. Even if the price quoted by the Gammon India is lower than the reserve price, the government may offer the company whether it was willing to quote the price higher then the reserve price.

''If the single bidder Gammon India is willing to quote a higher price than the reserve price then the government may consider the bids of the Gammon India'', sources added.

UP government on June 4, 2007 had decided to privatise all 59 sugar mills, 31 in public sector and 28 of the UP Cooperative sugar factories federation along with seven distilleries. This process was targeted to be completed by August 30,2007.

The privatisation process has now been delayed by a year and it still hangs in balance with no chance of the completion of the privatisation before the commencement of the next cane crushing season from October next.

The accumulated loss of the PSU sugar mills was around Rs 2,000 crore. In 2007-08, the state government has provided a budgetary grant of Rs 200 crore to the sugar corporation while the corporation owes as much as Rs 246 crore to the sugar cane growers for the current cane crushing season 2007-08.

The previous Mulayam Singh Yadav government in 2003, had decided to privatise 24 sugar mills of the UP sugar Corporation. The move was mired in controversy as all the mills were proposed to be handed over to a particular industrial house which has now emerged as the largest Sugar producer of the country.

UNI MB SB SR RK1345

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