Pawar to head talks on package for sugar mills

 An informal group of ministers (GoM), headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, is scheduled to hold the second round of meeting on December 6 to discuss a bailout package for cash-starved sugar mills and ensure timely payment to cane growers.

The chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have also been invited for the meeting to discuss the package, said sources.

An informal committee of the GoM has been set up by the prime minister to look into the issues concerning the sugar industry, including the interest-free loans.

Besides Pawar, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily, Food Minister K V Thomas and Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh are members of the group.

Sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed the GoM to come up with a solution to support the industry so that sugar mills are able to make timely payment to growers.

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