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Already reeling under mounting sugarcane arrears, Uttar Pradesh sugar millers are ruing the closure of several distilleries in the state in the wake of the coming Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.
The mills are jittery that the lifting of molasses from sugar factories would be adversely affected following the closure and lead to overflow of storage tanks. The state excise department had recently ordered the closure of a number of distilleries due to the Kumbh Mela, which could prolong until March 2013.
In fact, the UP Sugar Mills Association has already written to the state government top brass, seeking immediate corrective measures in the larger interests of farmers and millers.
In its letter, the association secretary, S L Gupta, has maintained that the closure of distilleries would adversely affect the lifting of molasses from factories and in some cases, completely stop it. This would be detrimental at a time when the cane crushing season was in full swing and factories were working to full capacity.
The mills fear if molasses were not lifted, it would lead to overflow of storage tanks and might even lead to a halt in cane procurement in some cases, which would be against the interests of farmers.
Besides, the closed distilleries would also suffer financial losses and workmen would be idle, the association letter reads.
The mills have urged the government to review its closure decision and allow the distilleries to function, especially units which had installed effluent treatment plants or were making bio-compost of the effluent.
The free sale of molasses should be allowed during the time of the closure and its interstate movement be permitted to avoid overflow conditions, they said.