The Indian Sugar Mills Association has urged the government to free sugarcane pricing in the coming season following the record output according to media reports. Sugarcane arrears could double to about Rs 40,000 crore in the coming season if cane prices continue to be set at artificially high levels even as sugar prices drop to multi year lows. For next season too, an upbeat cane harvest is projected. As the country is gearing up for an early monsoon, the sowing in the current kharif season has also started with a total area of 54 lakh hectares (lh) brought under cultivation till 18th May 2018, according to data released by the Agriculture Ministry. A total of 55 lh was covered during the same period last year. However, bulk of it was due to Sugarcane which was planted over 47 lh accounted for much of the area covered so far. While the sugarcane sowing in Uttar Pradesh is estimated at 21.52 lh, in Maharashtra and Karnataka it was 8.75 lh and 4 lh respectively.