MUMBAI, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Sugar mills in India's top
producing western state of Maharashtra are allowed to start
crushing operations from Nov. 5, nearly a month earlier than
previously fixed commencement date, a senior government official
The state government had earlier asked mills to start
operations from Dec. 1.
The government advanced crushing over concerns that large
amounts of cane may be diverted for the production of unrefined
sugar jaggery and mills in neighbouring Karnataka state may
procure cane from the state, the official said on Wednesday.
Due to droughts, sugar production in Maharashtra is likely
to drop nearly 40 percent to 5 million tonnes in the 2016/17
season started on Oct. 1 compared with a year earlier. This
could force India, the world's biggest sugar consumer, to import
as much as 2 million tonnes of sugar.
(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)