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Mumbai:

 
Veteran politician and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider a plea by the sugar industry to increase the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of sugar and help bail out the industry reeling under the Covid-19 crisis.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Pawar referred to a memorandum submitted by the Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation Ltd (MSCSFFL), detailing how the crisis has gripped the sugar industry.

The MSCSFFL’s demands include increasing the MSP of sugar by Rs 300 per quintal, from Rs 3,450 to Rs 3,750, along with a grade-wise increment.

It has also suggested certain other immediate relief measures in view of the worsening Covid-19 crisis. They include provision of funds for clearing export incentives and buffer stock expenses pending since the past two years and payment of one-time grant of Rs 650 per tonne on average sugarcane crushed during the past two years.

The sugar body has also demanded conversion of outstanding working capital into short term loan and rescheduling of all term loans for 10 years with a moratorium of two years on the lines of the Mitra Committee recommendations.

Treating sugar mills’ distilleries as strategic business units and on stand alone basis, the banks should finance the ethanol projects sanctioned under the Interest Subvention Capex Scheme announced by the Centre in 2018, the MSCSFFL urged.

“I shall be grateful if you personally look into the matter and initiate necessary relief measures to resolve the crisis which has worsened due to the pandemic,” Pawar said in his letter to the Prime Minister.

The NCP chief has forwarded the MSCSFFL’s detailed memorandum to Modi in this regard, said a party spokesperson.

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