Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal today emphasized on the up-gradation of cooperative sugar mills specifically in the border areas having high sugarcane potential so as to generate employment opportunities and economic development of border areas. In this regard a draft plan would be discussed in the next meeting of the cabinet sub-committee to make a long term plan regarding revival of theses sugar mills in the State.While presiding over a cabinet sub-committee meeting here today in the presence of Forests, Printing & Stationery and Welfare of SCs and BCs Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and ex-minister & former MP Mohinder Singh KP, he stated that Punjab Government would take adequate steps for revitalization of cooperative sugar industry to make them financially self-sustainable. It is pertinent to mention here that this cabinet sub-committee was formed to look into the proposals given by the 'Group of Experts' for revival of loss making cooperative sugar mills in the state.In this meeting the cabinet sub-committee discussed the report presented by Group of Experts constituted by the Punjab Government to give suggestions for revival and up-gradation of the cooperative sugar mills in the state. It was also discussed that in prevailing circumstances resulting in major fluctuation of sugar and molasses prices, the sugar industry could only be survived by having facilities to generate income from by-products like co-generation and ethanol etc. The experts also presented a draft plan for revival of these loss making cooperative sugar mills by converting these into sugar complexes in which besides sugar, ethanol, electricity, liquor etc. could be produced.
During the meeting Managing Director National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd., (NFCSF) New Delhi Prakash Naiknavare presented the global and Indian scenario in the sugar industry and Technical Adviser, NFCSF Jasbir Singh gave a detailed technical plan regarding revival of these sugar mills. Apprising the committee regarding present status of the sugarcane cultivation in the Punjab Director, Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore Dr. Bakshi Ram suggested ways for improvements in the sugarcane yield and sugar recovery by having proper seed development and extension programme. He emphasized that Punjab has a high potential for the sugarcane development keeping in view the global warming conditions. Director General, Vasant Dada Sugar Institute, Pune Shivajirao C. Deshmukh, IAS (Retd), stressed upon policy changes to be made by the government to revive these loss making sugar mills.Additional Chief Secretary Cooperation D.P. Reddy and Additional Chief Secretary Development Vishwajeet Khanna informed the committee that to safe guard the interests of sugarcane growers the experts after series of meetings with the stakeholders have drafted an exhaustive plan for up gradation, setting up of distilleries for production of ethanol and co-generation for revival of financial health of state cooperative sugar mills.Among others present in the meeting included Special Secretary Cooperation Gaggandip Singh Brar, Registrar Cooperative Societies Arvinder Singh Bains, Managing Director Sugarfed Arun Sekhri, Cane Commissioner Punjab Jaswant Singh, and Dr. K. S. Thind from PAU, Ludhiana.