HC seeks CAG`s performance audit report on sugar factories

Last Updated: Monday, December 13, 2010 - 21:44

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday asked
the Comptroller and Auditor General of India to submit
"performance audit report" of management of cooperative sugar
factories in Maharashtra for the period between April 2007 and
March 2010.

In response to another PIL, High Court also asked
Regional Provident Fund Commissioner to launch prosecution
against those sugar factories which have failed to remit PF
amounts to government repeatedly.

CAG is to submit the report "as expeditiously as
possible, and preferably within six weeks," said the division
bench of Justices B H Marlapalle and U D Salvi, which was
hearing the PIL filed by Ashok Kulkarni.

Kulkarni, who works as project consultant for sugar
factories, had written a letter to the High Court in 2006,
pointing out wide-spread malpractices in the cooperative
sector. It was turned into a PIL.

Among other things, Kulkarni had complained that the
government was allowing new cooperative factories to come up
in the areas where there was no sugarcane available.

The High Court, on July 12, 2006, had asked government
not to allow new factories to come up, or existing ones to
expand the capacity.

But today, Kulkarni alleged that several cooperative
factories were getting around this ban by starting "unit 2",
which would be, in effect, a new factory.

Or, in some cases, sugar production capacity was allowed
to be increased in the name of "modernisation or alteration",
he alleged.

The division bench today asked him to come up with a list
of factories which had done this in four weeks.
The High Court-appointed Shivajirao Deshmukh committee
has said in its report that state does not need new sugar
factories, except in districts of Ahmednagar, Latur, Solapur,
Jalgaon, Dhule and Nanded.

Nor do existing factories need capacity addition,
Deshmukh`s report says.

Another PIL, filed by NGO Just Society, is about
cooperative factories not depositing their share of provident
fund instalments with PF commissioner.

High Court had earlier directed PF commissioner to take
steps to recover PF dues.

Today, court directed that prosecution be launched
against those who "default persistently" within four weeks.

PF commissioner is conducting inquiry against 53
factories, court said that it must conclude by March 31, 2011.


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First Published: Monday, December 13, 2010 - 21:44

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