Nitin Gadkari hits out at sugar barons of Maharashtra; asks farmers to change crop pattern

Express News Service

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday said sugar mills were producing an excess of 70 lakh tonne sugar, way higher than the demand, and hence asked the state governments not to give permission for establishing new mills.

Attacking the sugar barons of Maharashtra, Gadkari said “India needs 240 lakh tonnes of sugar while the production is 310 lakh tonnes”.

“It means that we produce 70 lakh tonne of extra sugar. Government should not give any permission to any new mills. Otherwise, the situation will get worse. If no one takes sugar, that will worsen the situation of the farmers,” the union minister said.

He also warned that if the economic cycle reversed, farmers would not be able to afford it, banks would collapse and factories would close.

“The price of sugar in Brazil was Rs 22 per kg two months ago. We had set a minimum price of Rs 31 per kg of sugar. I am also on that committee. We wanted to increase the price of sugar by Rs 2 but did not increase it. Because everyone thought sugar would be expensive. But today, sugar production in Brazil is low. There is famine there. So in two to three months, there was a slight rise in sugar. Therefore, it is necessary to export as much sugar as possible,” he said adding the farmers should also transform their crops pattern.

Gadkari also said that they have to reduce the formula from sugarcane to sugar and need to go for ethanol.

“Sugar factories should start the ethanol pump at their factory and wherever it is possible. I will ensure the permission of ethanol pumps and even give the agencies of vehicles that run on ethanol. Ethanol fuel is not only cheaper but also reduces pollutions. In Brazil, the planes also run on ethanol fuel. We have to change our old habits of using petrol and diesel that cost the heavy price to government and customers also,” Gadkari.

Gadkari was in Ahmednagar inaugurating development works.