Hyderabad: Supermarkets are giving sugar as freebies on purchases of groceries over a certain amount. Depending on the amount of purchase, the quantity of free sugar also goes up.
The reason behind this is the abundant availability of sugar in Telangana due to the dumping of the commodity by Karnataka and Maharashtra. Wholesalers in Telangana prefer to buy sugar from these two states as it is cheap, at around Rs 24 per kg, whereas local sugar costs around Rs 31 per kg.
The demand for sugar in Telangana is 7 lakh to 8 lakh tonne per year, whereas only 3.3 lakh tonne per year is produced in the state. However, due to levying of VAT and flooding of sugar from the two neighbouring states, almost half of the produced sugar is unused in Telangana.
An official from the South Indian Sugar Mills Association (SISMA) said, “5 per cent VAT is levied on sugar produced in Telangana unlike that in Karnataka and Maharashtra which have lowered the price of sugar. If VAT is reduced on sugar produced in Telangana, we can also offer competitive prices because the transportation cost on our sugar will be lower than that which comes from the two states. As of now, some part of the sugar produced in Telangana is being sent to Kolkata.”
A fallout of this is on the sugarcane farmers who are not paid for their produce on time by the sugar mills due to poor sale of sugar, ultimately pushing farmers into financial depression.
One such farmer from Zaheerabad said, “I had sold sugarcane worth Rs 80,000 to a sugar mill about two months ago for which I am yet to receive money. Some farmers have been paid only a part of the total amount.”
The SISMA official said, “We have approached the Telangana government on the issue many times but to no avail.”
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