Towards a Sweeter Punjab Sugar Industry Looks up in the State

 

Going through the numbers and figures, there are 24 sugar mills in Punjab, out of which 16 are in the co-operative sector and 8 are in the private sector. The incremental crushing capacity of the 24 sugar mills is 67,016 TCD and the crushing capacity of the sugar mills which are effectively working is 49,766 TCD. The circumstantial area under the sugarcane production and its average yield is stated below –

Year

Area under Sugarcane

(in lakh hect.)

Average yield

(in Quintals/ hect.)

Production

(in lakh Quintals)

2008-09

0.94

633

595

2009-10

0.60

676

406

2010-11

0.70

704

493

2011-12

0.80

706

565

2012-13

0.83

713

591

2013-14

0.89

750

667

2014-15 0.94 750

705

Punjab is a developing state, and there is no escape from the fact that rise in prices is an inevitable factor in a developing economy. Continuous price hikes usually lead to anarchy – a complete failure of all government and official systems. Partially similar is the case of the sugar industry in Punjab. As stated by Press information bureau of the Government of India, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has fixed the Fair and remunerative Price of sugarcane at Rs. 230 per quintal for season 2015 – 1016 at 9.5 % recovery which is the bench mark price to be paid to the sugarcane farmers. However, the prices are being paid to the sugarcane farmers at the State Advised Price (SAP), which is usually higher in comparison to the Fair and remunerative Price (FRP).

Towards this endeavor, the steps taken by the government include providing incentive for raw exporting raw sugar in the sugar seasons, extending loans with interest subvention @ 10 % per annum for one year under the Soft Loan scheme 2015 and providing production subsidy  @ Rs. 4.50 per quintal  to the sugar mills. Another effective step taken by the government as stated by Shri Ram Vilas Paswan comprises of fixed remunerative prices for supplies of ethanol to OMCs for   blending with petrol, waived excise duty on ethanol supplies to OMCs during 2015-16 and scaled up of blending targets from 5% to 10%.

In addition to the steps taken by the central government, the SAD – BJP led Punjab government has been active in contributing sweet means to the sugar industry. It is clearly evident from the fact that a sum of Rs. 71 crore was uncorked for making payments to the sugarcane growers who have been demanding payment of outstanding arrears by the private sugar mills in Punjab.

”On the direction of Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, a sum of Rs 71 crore has been released through banks for making immediate payment of outstanding sugar cane arrears to the farmers due towards the owners of six private sugar mills in the state,” stated an official spokesperson. “

The Punjab government has been successful to some extent to eradicate the hurdles in the sugarcane industry. However, a lot remains to be done before we can match the developed countries of the world.

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