Chavan raps erring sugar factories

Pune: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday told the powerful cooperative sugar industry to refrain from demanding "crutches" in form of the government support and asked the sector to adopt "professional and transparent management" practises.

"I am going to ask the co-operatives minister to make it compulsory for every factory to put its balance-sheet on website," Chavan said and expressed his scepticism as to what extent the state government could assist the sector which needed "fiscal discipline".

The Chief Minister said the number of sick factories was going up and only a few were being managed efficiently.

"Even the state cooperative bank is handicapped to extend financial support to sugar sector. Mismanaging factories cannot be shielded," he said while acknowledging the need to stabilise the industry.

Chavan also criticised those who were spearheading current agitation in the state demanding hike in prices for sugar cane growers saying the farmers were being misled.

"What is important is the final price that is given to the cane growers and not the quantum of advance payment," he added.

Chavan had a word of praise for Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar who was on the dais along with his nephew and deputy Chief Minister Ajit, saying he was performing a "balancing act" by protecting the interests of both farmers and consumers.