Often the focal point of political tussle in Osmanabad district, defunct Terna sugar co-op mill goes up for rent

Of the two, Terena Cooperative Sugar Mill, has a history of tussle, which has always been the focal point of political power in the district.

POLITICAL CIRCLEs in the drought-prone Osmanabad district are all set to see some major upheaval after the Osmanabad District Central Cooperative Bank (DCCB)’s decision to invite tenders for renting out two of the defunct cooperative sugar mills — Terna and Tuljabhavani.

Of the two, Terena Cooperative Sugar Mill, has a history of tussle, which has always been the focal point of political power in the district.

Located in Dhoki village in Osmanabad taluka of the district, it was the biggest cooperative sugar mill in Marathwada. With a crushing capacity of 5,000 tonnes per day, this mill had a connection with leaders like Arvind Gore, former minister Dr Padamasinh Patil and others. Back then, it used to attract cane from almost all of the district.

Dr Patil, who is a close relative of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, had fallen out with his cousin and Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar over the control of this mill and other cooperative bodies.

The sensational murder of Pawanraje had rocked the political establishment with Dr Patil being arrested for his alleged role in the murder. The case is still going on.

Activist Anna Hazare had made sensational allegations against Dr Patil over his alleged involvement in corrupt practices in the mill. When Dr Patil headed the Osmanabad DCCB, funds were never a problem for the mill.

However, over the years, Pawanaraje and his family wrestled control of the mill.

Suresh Birajdar, Chairman of the Osmanabad DCCB, said the mill owes Rs 212 crore to the bank. Unpaid dues from both the sugar mills had led to the financial weakness of the DCCB. Interestingly, this will be the first time that the bank has invited tenders for renting out the mill in a period of 25 years.

Dr Patil and his son, former minister Padmasinh Patil, had ditched NCP and joined BJP just before the 2019 elections. While Pawanraje’s son Omraje is the sitting Shiv Sena MP from the district and the political bloodbath between the two still goes strong.

Given the fact that both NCP and Shiv Sena are sharing power in the state government, Omraje also would be interested in getting his hands in running the mill to counter Padmasinh Patil’s clout in the district.

The tender for the mill is expected to be opened on October 1.

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