The Food Ministry is looking at various options to boost domestic availability of sugar, including extending deadline for white sugar import beyond March 31, 2010, sources said.
It is also considering relaxing import conditions to allow millers of Uttar Pradesh to refine imported raw sugar in other states as the UP government had in early November banned its transportation and processing.
In last 20 days, ministry officials have held at least two rounds of meeting with importers to remove hurdles in imports, if any. Sugar prices have increased by Rs 6 to Rs 45 a kg in Delhi since the beginning of the new year.
Sugar mills and traders have pointed out that the current deadline for white sugar import was not adequate. They want the deadline to be extended at par with raw sugar import till December-end from the current March 31, 2010.
Earlier, the government had extended the deadline of white sugar import from November 2009 to March 2010 while that of raw sugar from March 31, 2010 to December 31, 2010.
Importers said that the extension of deadline for sugar imports should not be done in a piece-meal way. Rather a one-time decision should be taken to enable them to firm up their business strategy accordingly.