Will not let sugar industry die, says Akhilesh

The UP sugar industry got some sweet support from chief minister Akhilesh Singh Yadav who has asked his officials to ensure the industry "does not die down".

"Find out ways to keep the sugar industry alive. We cannot let it die," he said, adding that "while attracting new industry in the state is important, it is more important that the existing industry does not die down."

The instructions were given to senior officials of the cane as well energy departments. The chief minister's assurance came after a high-powered delegation of some of the top sugar industrialists, including Vivek Saraogi of Balrampur Chini Mills, Nopani of Birla group, Tarun Sawhney of Triveni Sugar, Gautam Goel of Dhampur Sugar and Ajit Shriram of DSCL, met Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav to apprise them of the precarious situation the industry was facing.

The delegation brought to the notice of the state government the fact that there were huge electricity dues to the sector, which were hampering cane payments. "Also, the rise in cane prices have increased the cost of sugar production, making it difficult for producers to be competitive in global markets. The sector needs some relief from the government to cut down impending losses. It has sought for remission of full purchase tax of R2 a quintal, complete exemption of 2% entry tax and reimbursement of R3 a quintal out of the society commission of R5.10 per quintal. The remission of purchase tax, entry tax and society commission alone will provide us a relief of R600-700 crore," said an official privy to the meetings.

The delegation requested the state government "to devise ways so that the industry does not die." SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said the government will ensure that no one makes loss in the sugar industry. "We dont want either the farmers or the industry to make losses. We will make sure that the industry in UP does not die," he stated. The delegation also asked Yadav to reconsider the revival of the 2004 sugar incentive policy, which had attracted investments of close to R10,000 crore in both expansion and new capacity addition.

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