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‘Sugar mills owe Rs. 593 cr to farmers’

Sugar mills in Maharashtra had paid farmers around Rs. 20,682 crore for sugarcane by end-July, but still have arrears of Rs. 593 crore, an official in the State sugar commissioner’s office said.

Sugar commissioner Sambhaji Patil said he has been talking to mill owners to clear dues, and action has been taken against mills which did not comply with government payment norms. “This has helped reduce conflict between farmers and mills and also in bringing down arrears.”

Sugar prices have fallen below production cost on account of record output in the 2017-18 season. Mr. Patil said the government has taken measures to help the cash-starved industry, like fixing an ex-factory sugar price, and the Centre has decided to increase ethanol production, giving mills an additional source of income.

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