"The government will provide Rs 2,100 crore to help the distressed sugars mills, however, it will initiate criminal proceedings against the mills which fail to pay FRP to sugarcane producers," Cooperatives Minister Chandrakant Patil said here.

Talking to reporters, Patil added that the government will consider withdrawing cases registered in the last ten years against the farmers in the course of agitations of sugarcane growers if the offence was not serious.

Devendra Fadnavis-led Cabinet is likely to be expanded next week and around 20 new ministers, including those from allies will be inducted, Patil said, but evaded a question on whether Shiv Sena will be a part of the expansion.

First information report will be filed against the sugar factory authorities if they do not pay FRP to farmers for the procurement of the sugarcane, Patil said.

The decision was taken to offer succour to sugarcane producers as the prices of sugarcane are falling. Patil said the government has also requested the Central government for financial assistance for the factories, so that they can pay the FRP.

"The FRP for procurement per tonne has been fixed at Rs 2,400 to Rs 2,600. But some of the 96 factories which have started crushing season have been paying less. We have decided to lodge FIRs against such factories. We do understand that sugar factories are in financial crisis due to which they have not been able to pay the due rate," said the minister.

"To make the FRP feasible, we have decided to waive sugarcane purchase tax, which is 3 percent of the procurement price, worth Rs 800 crore," Patil said.

Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana and other organisations representing the sugarcane growers have been demanding that procurement price be raised to Rs 2,700 to Rs 3,400 per tonne.

The Minister said the state government plans to approach the Central government for financial assistance of about Rs 2,100 crore to the factories in the form of loans with zero percent interest rate and a duration of ten years.

The government has also decided to de-control the sale of the molasses, which can now be sold to foreign countries or neighbouring states.

The government has also announced hike in the daily wages of sugarcane labourers, apart from formation of a welfare board for them.

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