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Already reeling under mounting sugarcane arrears, the sugar millers from Uttar Pradesh are ruing the closure of several distilleries in the state, in the wake of the upcoming Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.
The millers are jittery that the lifting of molasses from sugar factories would be adversely affected following the closure and lead to the overflow of the storage tanks.
The state excise department had recently ordered the closure of a number of distilleries due to the Kumbh Mela, which could continue until March.
The UP Sugar Mills Association had already written to the state government top brass, seeking immediate corrective measures in the larger interests of the farmers and the millers.
In its letter, Association secretary S L Gupta has maintained the closure of distilleries would adversely affect the lifting of molasses from factories and may be completely stopped in some cases. This would be detrimental at a time when the sugarcane crushing season was in full swing and factories were working to full capacity.
The mills fear if the molasses were not lifted, it would lead to overflow of the storage tanks and might even halt sugarcane in some cases, which would be against the interest of farmers.
Besides, the distilleries would also suffer financial losses and workmen would be idle, the Association letter reads.
Meanwhile, the mills have urged the government to review its decision and allow the distilleries to function, especially units which had installed effluent treatment plants or were making bio-compost out of effluent.
The free sale of molasses should be allowed during the closure and its interstate movement be permitted to avoid overflow conditions.