Union Cooperation Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday assured leaders from Maharashtra that the Centre would soon increase the export quota sugar and take steps to help the ailing sugar industry in the state.
Shah gave the assurance during a meeting with Maharashtra BJP leaders, who also have stakes in the sugar cooperatives sector. The state leaders were part of a delegation led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis.
"The export quota (for sugar) has been exhausted. Since Maharashtra is a coastal state, we can export sugar through our ports. The minister also took a constructive approach on the issue and assured us to increase the quota or take an appropriate decision in this regard," Fadnavis told reporters here.
The meeting was attended by BJP leaders Raosaheb Patil Danve, Pankaja Munde, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Harshvardhan Patil, and Dhananjay Mahadik, among others.
Shinde said the delegation apprised Shah about the difficulties faced by the sugar sector with regard to working capital, margin money, funds for setting up standalone ethanol plants and issues of loan restructuring.
"The Cooperation Minister had a positive approach and assured us that a favourable decision will be taken within a week," Shinde said.
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A senior BJP leader said the export quota for sugar was fixed at 60 lakh tonnes and there was a need to increase it by at least 20 lakh tonnes so that the sector could benefit from the high prices of the sweetener in the international markets.
He said an early decision on increasing the export quota would enable Indian sugar producers to strike timely contracts and benefit from the prevailing high prices.
The leader said sugar prices were likely to soften after April when Brazilian sugar would be available in the international markets.
Asked about the absence of leaders from the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP from the delegation, Shinde said there was no discrimination on party lines and it was the endeavour of the government to take steps to benefit the entire sugar industry.
Fadnavis said Shah also apprised the delegation of the proposal to strengthen Primary Agriculture Credit Society by bringing 20 additional matters under its ambit.
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