Chadha Sugars in dock for improper molasses storage ||SNE||
By tribuneindia .
Jun 06, 2018
Chadha Sugars and Industries is in trouble for alleged improper storage of molasses at its mill in Kiri Afgana, near Gurdaspur. The firm, which was in news for molasses spillage in the Beas, leading to high mortality of aquatic life, will be issued a notice by the Excise and Taxation Department.Official sources told The Tribune that a notice under Section 9 of the Punjab Molasses Control Act would be issued to the mill, owned by a relative of PS Sarna, religious adviser to the CM. A team of officers from the department had visited the factory premises following the incident and reportedly found discrepancies in the way molasses was stored.Top excise officials said there were two lagoons on the mill premises and one lagoon in the distillery. These lagoons had to be either made of steel or brick-lined. But this was not the case. “Our inquiry team has concurred that the spillage was caused because of improper storage and thus a notice is being served to the mill,” said a senior excise officer, requesting anonymity.He said the quantity of molasses stored in the mill was very high (more than 1.40 lakh quintals) and the department was looking into the reasons for that.Chadha Sugars and Industries also has two distilleries — one grain based and the other can process both grain and molasses to make alcohol. “We will be asking the management as to why molasses was neither sold nor used in the distillery,” said the officer.Interestingly, the Excise and Taxation Department does not monitor the storage of molasses. It only collects excise duty when the molasses is transported from the mill to the distillery and a licence for transportation is issued.
High output to blame?
Excise officials say since the cane crushing was the highest ever this year — 840 lakh quintals — molasses, a byproduct of sugarcane, was also produced in high quantity. Its price has come down because of low demand and thus almost all sugar mills have huge stocks of molasses. “We are informally asking all mills — seven private and nine cooperative — to dispose of molasses as soon as possible to avoid another accident,” says a senior officer.