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CPCB Notice Sparks Controversy: 45 Sugar Mills Shut Down Before Sugarcane Season

Sugar Mills Update: CPCB Issues Closure Notice to 45 Co-operative Sugar Mills in Maharashtra

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has taken a significant step by issuing closure notices to 45 cooperative sugar mills in Maharashtra for violating environmental regulations. This development comes at a crucial time, as the sugarcane crushing season is set to begin on November 1st. All the mills that received these notices are located within the state of Maharashtra, which is home to a total of 190 sugar mills, of which 105 are currently operational. This marks the first instance where such a substantial number of sugar mills have been served closure notices.

CPCB’s Communication with MPCB

According to a report published in The Times of India, the CPCB has written to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). In the letter, Kamlesh Singh, a representative of the CPCB, mentioned that the closure orders have been issued under Section 5 of the Environmental Protection Act against sugar industries that have failed to comply with the regulations due to non-establishment/non-connectivity. Under Section 5, the central government holds the authority to issue orders for the closure of any industry. This includes the power to cease operational activities, halt the supply of electricity and water, or regulate any other form of services.

Inspection and Verification of Sugar Mills

CPCB anticipates that the MPCB will assist in implementing the orders while ensuring adherence to environmental guidelines. The mills receiving notices will also undergo closures. CPCB has expressed its hope that the MPCB will instruct the state electricity board to discontinue power supply to these mills. Additionally, CPCB has requested the state pollution control board to inspect and verify all 45 sugar mills.

Lack of Awareness Among Sugar Mill Owners

CPCB also stated that in light of the closure orders, the mills should not commence their operations for the 2023-24 crushing season without the approval of any actions taken before November 10, 2023. P.R. Patil, the Chairman of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation, has not provided any comments on the CPCB’s notice. He mentioned, “I have no information about any notice. We will decide on our course of action after discussing it with our members.”

What’s at Stake

If 45 out of the 105 sugar mills in the state are closed, it would account for approximately 40% of the total capacity. Experts predict that this could pose difficulties for sugarcane farmers in the coming season. The closure of 45 cooperative sugar mills may lead to an increase in ad hoc decisions by private sugar mills. The repercussions could also affect sugarcane procurement in the near future.

In conclusion, the CPCB’s decision to issue closure notices to 45 cooperative sugar mills in Maharashtra has raised significant concerns within the industry. The impact of these closures on sugarcane farmers and the sugar production sector remains to be seen.