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The Maharashtra government today rescheduled the date for sugar mills to start their crushing season to November 5 from earlier December 1. The decision was taken at a meeting of cabinet sub-committee held here which was chaired by state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. It was attended by Maharashtra Cooperation Minister Subhash Deshmukh and other stake holders. The state is set to face acute shortage of sugarcane in the current crushing season as sugarcane cultivators from Marathwada, north Maharashtra and Vidarbha incurred heavy losses during 2014 and 2015 after acute shortage of rainfall, an official said. Prior to these two years, there was glut of sugarcane production resulting into state produce of the crop as high as 100 lakh tonne, he added. Compared to it, sugar mills in the state are expected to crush 445 lakh tonnes of sugarcane and produce 50.28 lakh tonnes of sugar.
It is less by at least 30 lakh tonne produced during 2015-16 crushing season, the official said. The sugarcane crushing generally begins in November every year and continues till April. "The crushing season would not last for even 150 days as there is acute shortage of sugarcane in the state as well as neighbouring states like Karnataka," he added. There were 177 sugar mills in the state that had produced 84 lakh tonne sugar in the 2015-16 crushing season, said the official.