Paswan said that he will also consult with Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and Minister of State (Agriculture) Sanjeev Baliyan about this issue. (Agencies)
Last week, Paswan had said that "there is issue of sugarcane farmers regarding payment. We want to resolve this as early as possible. I will have discussions with various leaders like Nitin Gadkari, Gopinath Munde, Maneka Gandhi and Kalraj Mishra."
According to industry estimates, sugar mills owe about Rs 12,000 crore to sugarcane farmers. The crushing season, which started in October last year, has almost ended but cash-starved mills are unable to clear arrears as sugar prices are lower than the cost of production.
Paswan said that he along with with Agriculture Minister and MoS is likely to meet cabinet colleagues from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra on June 4 and will discuss about the cane arrears issue.
To bail out the sugar industry, the UPA government in December 2013 had approved Rs 6,600 crore interest-free loan to the sugar industry for making payment to sugarcane farmers.
That apart, the previous government had also approved export subsidy to sale surplus sugar in the overseas market.
Sugar production of India, the world's second largest producer and biggest consumer, is estimated to decline by 4 percent to 24.2 million tonnes (MT) in the 2013-14 marketing year ending September.
Still, the production is higher than the annual domestic demand estimated at 23-23.5 MT.
Earlier this week, industry body ISMA demanded a stable policy for the sugar sector that supports 50 million farmers and also sought hike in import duty of the sweetener to at least 40 percent.
Import duty currently stands at 15 percent. The industry has been demanding an increase in import duty to boost sales of domestic sugar as the country has surplus production.
Paswan said that he will also consult with Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and Minister of State (Agriculture) Sanjeev Baliyan about this issue.