The BJP-led government in Maharashtra is likely to announce advancing of the sugarcane crushing season date, by at least a fortnight, following objections from several sugar mills. The decision to change the dates for the crushing season is expected to be taken at a meeting of the cabinet committee here tomorrow, a state farmers' leader said. "There are various proposals on the new date. It could be November 1, November 7 or November 15," the leader told PTI. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had earlier this month stated that the sugarcane crushing season for 2016-17 will begin in the state from December 1. That decision was taken at a meeting of a cabinet committee headed by Fadnavis. "Fadnavis took this decision based on inputs from a senior BJP ministerial colleague and a senior NCP leader," he said. Meanwhile, Lok Sabha member Raju Shetti, two-term MP from Kolhapur in western Maharashtra's sugar belt, said the government "being forced" to reconsider crushing season date has happened for the first time and is a classic example of this government's "alienation" from farmers. "December 1 was announced for the convenience of a few sugar mills.
The government has now realised its folly," Shetti said. "Maharashtra cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh owns a couple of sugar mills. Despite this, such an anti-farmer decision was taken by the government. I have received communication from 20 sugar mills, seeking advancement of the crushing season," he said.
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