PUNE: As the production of sugar has remained high for consecutive years, State Minister for Cooperatives, Marketing and Textiles Subhash Deshmukh said that the State is planning to increase the rates of industrial sugar to keep the rates of consumer sugar down, while at the same time giving good returns to sugarcane growers and manufacturers.
Deshmukh was speaking at a press conference in the city on Saturday after he inaugurated the Mango Festival at Marketyard. Deshmukh said that due to increase in production this year, sugar manufacturers are finding it difficult to pay good prices to sugarcane farmer. There are predictions of further growth in sugar production next year too. Considering this, the State needs to look into the matter seriously and design a solution.
The minister also said that some of the options that the State is mulling are incentivising export of sugar, creating a buffer stock of sugar to be distributed through the Public Distribution System, etc. Deshmukh said that chief ministers of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, Devendra Fadnavis and Yogi Adityanath, have approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a meeting regarding the issue.
Deshmukh, when asked about the allegations of corruption in tur purchase, said that the opposition is making baseless allegations. He said that if the State has in its entirety purchased tur worth Rs 1,300 crore, how can there be a Rs 2,000 crore scam. “The State has purchased 75 lakh tonnes of tur. The cost of that goes to Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,350 crore, out of which 1.5 lakh tonnes was turned into dal, i.e. 90 pc tur is in stock. How can there be a Rs 2,000 crore scam then,” Deshmukh asked.
The minister also indicated that the government might be thinking of a separate department for the management of cooperative housing societies within the Cooperative Department. Deshmukh said that the decision regarding the same would be taken in a month’s time, when the study related to it would be concluded.