According to industry sources, total cane arrears stand at Rs 5,600 crore in Maharashtra despite the prevalence of a policy of paying a substantial portion of the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane upfront to farmers.
Sources said that the condition of Maharashtra's farmers has deteriorated due to such massive arrears.
Attempts to reach Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad did not bear fruit. Cane arrears across the country are estimated at Rs 19,000 crore.
Meanwhile, informed sources said that Gaikwad has already started issuing advisories to district collectors to initiate action, including legal proceedings, against wilful defaulters. As per the commitment made to the farmers, some 35-40 such advisories will be issued.
“Under the law, the sugar commissioner would consider the cane dues as government dues under the Revenue Recovery Certificate (RRC), which will allow a district magistrate to even seize existing stocks of sugar and attach mill owners' properties till they clear dues,” said Pande.