New Delhi, Jun 30 : Sugar-rich Maharashtra today demanded an increase in the export quota of the sweetener from the current five lakh metric tonnes to 20 lakh metric tonnes.
A ministerial delegation led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with demands for hiking sugar export quotas and imposing stiff duties on the import of the sweetener. The powerful Maratha sugarcane lobby had been demanding a hike in quota.
Chavan was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Union Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Prateek Patil, ministers of the state government Harshvardhan Patil, Jayant Patil, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Prakash Solankhe, former minister Vijaysinh Mohite Patil among others. The delegation told the Prime Minister that Maharashtra would have surplus sugar upto 40 lakh metric tonnes ahead of the new season, which is set to witness a bumper sugarcane produce.
The leaders wanted the Centre to hike the import duty on sugar from the current 20 per cent to 60 per cent to discourage import of the sweetener.
Also, they pointed out that the state was short of storage space for sugar and nearly 15 lakh tonne was stored in the open.
Chavan is also meeting Defence Minister A K Antony, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Food Minister K V Thomas The Chief Minister is expected to discuss setting up of defence production units in the state with Antony. PTI