Sugar News Details

Properties of sugar mill to be auctioned


KOLHAPUR: The failure of clearing the pending dues of cane farmers for over a year by New Phaltan Sugar Works Ltd — a private sugar factory in Satara district — is going to cost them dearly.
The district collector has initiated the process to auction movable and immovable properties owned by the sugar mill on March 30. The process has been initiated under Revenue Recover Act.
Sub-divisional officer Santosh Jadhav said the sugar mill has not made any payment to the farmers for over a year and it has not even started crushing for the current year. Sources in sugar commissioner office said the mill owes total dues of around Rs4,000 crore accumulated over the years.
Owing to this, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana has launched agitation outside the sugar mill. Sugar commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad, in January this year, had issued an order to all district collectors to seize sugar stock or movable and immovable property of sugar mills who have not made payment to the farmers.
Sugar factories are expected to make payment based on fair and remunerative price (FRP) within 15 days after cane is taken for crushing. New Phaltan Sugar Works did not make any payment to the farmers for the last 2017-18 crushing season.
An 80-year-old farmer, Bhagwan Shinde of Salpe village, ended his life in December last year holding the New Phaltan Sugar Works responsible for his action. In his suicide note, Shinde had written that he was not the getting payment of Rs80,000 for more than a year.
Phaltan police had even registered an offence against directors of factory for abetment to suicide. Satara district collector initiated the process under Revenue Recovery Act (RRC) against New Phaltan Sugar Works and also under Sugarcane Control Act.
The revenue officials had conducted the exercise of valuation for paying the arrears of the farmers. The officials have seized some land, belonging to the factory but it is not adequate to clear the entire due.
The officials have now completed the valuation of all movable and immovable property of the mill including machinery, buildings and land. Revenue machinery had taken help of other government agencies for this exercise.
It is expected that an amount of Rs134 crore can be raised through the auction. A large number of sugar factories in Maharashtra did not pay the FRP-based payment to the farmers, forcing sugar commissioner to issues notices. Following this, the sugar mills started releasing the payments to the farmers.
(With inputs from Atul Deshpande from Satara)