Mumbai: Maharashtra will witness a 40 percent reduction in sugar production due to poor rainfall and drought conditions this year, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told reporters said on Monday.

This year, 545 lakh metric tonnes of sugarcane were crushed compared to 771 lakh metric tonne last year, he said. "Last year, sugar production was 90 lakh tonne and this year, a 40 percent fall is expected, which is a cause for concern, because farmers suffered due to bad debts and poor crop," he said.

He said that the issue of subsidised LPG cylinders will be taken up at this week's cabinet meeting. "The financial implications are being worked out and we are also looking at what other states have done," he said.

Chavan said that Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray met him recently to discuss the toll collection issue. "He told me that he is going ahead with his agitation against toll. Raj discussed his views on how toll collection centres could be monitored," he said.

The proposal of a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) like body for appointments to top government positions is being discussed, he said.

"The issue of having all appointments done after vigilance clearance is being considered. At the central government level, all interviews are done by the Public Enterprise Selection Board after being advertised. There is no such machinery here, which I feel is a major lacuna," he said.

Speaking about review of the transfer law, Chavan said that a cabinet sub-committee headed by Narayan Rane has submitted its report. "Security of tenure is a good principle, but there is other side to it as well. The right people should be placed at the right place and at the right time," he said.

(Agencies)

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