Maharashtra co-operative fraud: Endgame for co-operative sugar factories?

Of the about a hundred seventy five registered co-operative sugar factories in Maharashtra, only 95 crushed cane in the 2020-21 sugar time. Around 54 for every cent of co-operative mills remained dysfunctional.

Directors of the greater part of the mills say that they will not be ready to start crushing next year owing to the huge losses incurred.

In 2018, of the 178 registered co-operative sugar mills, only one hundred and one started off crushing operations. Of these 80 described a overall decline of ₹4,a hundred seventy five crore. In 2019, of the 102 working mills, 59 mills described a decline of ₹2,474 crore.

The in general income attained by the remaining mills in 2018 and 2019 was a meagre ₹188 crore and ₹399 crore, respectively. In the 2020-21 time, mills forecast additional losses and decrease income margins.

Examine also: Maharashtra co-operative fraud: How co-op sugar mills come to be non-public properties

Now, fifty seven co-operative sugar factories have expressed incapacity to repay financial loans of about ₹3,000 crore taken from Maharashtra Condition Co-operative Bank (MSCB), Mumbai Bank, and Nanded and Osmanabad District Central Co-operative Financial institutions. The Condition government, a guarantor to these financial loans, has set up a committee to draft an action strategy for the mortgage payment.

In 2020, the Maharashtra government passed a resolution to frame criteria to rejuvenate non-operational sugar mills and their allied units on a hire, partnership or collaboration foundation.

Shift to non-public method

A senior government official reported that either the Condition government will have to repay the personal debt or the banking companies will have to auction the mills.

“All these mills are dominated by politicians, who also have a say in the government and the banking companies. So, it is their choice on what they want to do with these mills.

“It is not just about mills, but also their control on huge land parcels that the mills have obtained at a subsidised price,” he reported.

Examine additional: How politicians are pocketing sugar mills and their wide lands

A previous director of Sangli-centered Vasantdada Co-operative Sugar Mill, one of the oldest in the Condition, reported the factory is getting run by a non-public organization as the administrators unsuccessful to shell out lender personal debt. The mill stands on a sprawling 400 acres in a key locality in Sangli town and has land parcels in other areas.

“The hurt brought on by mismanagement, corruption, overstaffing, absence of qualified tactic and the significant price of doing work capital is huge. Co-operative sugar factories in the Condition are on the deathbed. In the next couple of many years, there will be additional non-public factories working in the Condition when compared to co-operative mills,” he reported.

About 164 mills crushed sugarcane in 2010-11. Of these, the quantity of non-public mills was 41 (25 for every cent). In the just lately-concluded 2020-21 sugarcane time, out of the 190 working mills, 95 (fifty for every cent) have been non-public mills.

Bitter politics

All farmer leaders say that sugar barons have looted farmers and fuelled their own political ambitions by employing the co-operative dollars for elections.

They say that mills make losses not due to the fact they have to shell out higher Reasonable and Remunerative Rate (FRP), but due to the fact of mismanagement. Co-operative mills and sugarcane farmers in Maharashtra have usually locked horns about the timely payment of the FRP.

Just in advance of the 2019 Condition elections, a lot of sugar sector bigwigs, who relished electrical power in the Nationalist Congress Party and Congress regimes, joined the BJP camp sensing the direction the wind was blowing. Several contested and even won as BJP candidates.

“As the Enforcement Directorate has initiated a probe in opposition to mills and the Centre has established a new Ministry of Co-operation underneath Amit Shah, a lot of sugar barons who are underneath the scanner could shift their loyalties to the BJP,” suggests political observer Mohan Patil.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar, who one-handedly controls Maharashtra’s sugar politics, just lately achieved Primary Minister Narendra Modi concerning the ongoing turmoil in the State’s co-operative sector. This is possible to be the commencing of a new political realignment in Maharashtra.

After all, the BJP is not ready to digest the actuality that Maharashtra has slipped out of its palms in spite of getting the one greatest party the Assembly and the NCP cannot find the money for to set its sugar satraps underneath the ED scanner, Patil added.



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