National Federation of Co-op Sugar Factories urges Centre to ensure uninterrupted mill operation
The National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories (NFCSF) has urged the Centre to intervene for an uninterrupted operation of mills and distilleries during the nationwide lockdown. In a representation to joint secretary, sugar, NFCSF managing director Prakash Naiknavare said the coronavirus pandemic is spreading rapidly and the sugar sector is hit with a strong blow, hampering ongoing exports, domestic sales and day-to-day affairs. The nationwide lockdown of 21 days as a precautionary measure with advisories on avoiding gatherings will affect the agro-based sugar industry.
“The GoI controls sugar and sugarcane through statutory backing of Essential Commodities Act and other applicable acts. This Agro based Industry has five crore farmers & 50 lakh direct & indirect dependable employees/workers…” he said. He said due to nationwide lockdown there was dilemma in sugarcane grower’s fraternity in the supply of sugarcane to mills which may cause distress among sugarcane growers.
All India Sugar Trade Association has approached the department of food and public distribution seeking permission for the movement of workers, transport vehicles engaged in production supply and distribution of sugar and ethanol in the domestic market and export during the curfew.
The federation has requested for clarification on allowing direct and indirect employees/contractors, associate persons, sugarcane growers and essential items for smooth running of sugar mills during lockdown after considering following suggestions. It has asked for allowing harvesters including labourers for cutting of sugarcane, allowing supply of sugarcane from field or from purchase centre, allowing direct and indirect employees/contractors and associate persons for continuing day-to-day operation of the sugar mills till conclusion of the season and allowing interstate/intrastate packaging items including PP bags. Naiknavare said interstate/intrastate items which help in manufacturing sugar should be permitted and the government should allow interstate/intrastate movements of jaggery, ENA & ethanol.