Protect farmers: Palaniswami writes to Nirmala Sitharaman

Chennai: Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has urged Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to take urgent steps to revive the Tamilnadu sugar industry, and protect the livelihood of nearly four lakh farmers.

In a letter dated 24 October, which was released to the media today, Palaniswami urged Nirmala to issue orders for restructuring of loans availed from banks/financial institutions by sugar industry and SDF loans got by private and cooperative mills.

The banks and financial institutions may be instructed to finalise the debt restructuring package soon, he said in the letter and added that until steps are finalised to revive the sugar sector, banks / financial Institutions may kindly be advised not to take any harsh measures under the
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code or the SARFAESI Act or refer cases to the DRTs. He further said the Centre may sanction additional sugar release to mills in Tamilnadu, as a special measure so as to improve the financial liquidity of the mills.

”Banks may be advised to release loans to farmers for cultivating sugar cane, even if the earlier loans have not been repaid by them. This non-repayment of loans is due to the non-payment of FRP dues by the sugar mills,” he mentioned in the letter.

He recollected Nirmala’s interactive meeting on sugar industry in Chennai on 10 September with representatives of the State government, SISMA and the cane growers, taking into consideration the various issues faced by the sugarcane growers and sugar industry in Tamilnadu.

As suggested by the Finance Minister, a high level meeting with the participation of delegation from government of India, government of Tamilnadu, Reserve Bank of India, senior representatives from various banks, SISMA and representatives from Sugarcane Growers’ Associations was conducted on 24 September in Chennai. In the meeting, it was decided to constitute a ‘Sugar Mills Revival Committee’ with members from Government of Tamilnadu and the banks to evolve a mechanism for restructuring the loans owed by the Sugar Mills to banks, Palaniswami said. He also listed out the various measures taken by the State government to improve financial status of the sugar industry.