The government on Friday decided to release 16.15 lakh tonnes of sugar for sale in the open market and through ration shops in November, about 3.83 lakh tonnes lower than the previous month.

“This quantity of 16.15 lakh tonne is sufficient to meet the internal demand of sugar for the month of November,” the government statement said.

Further, it said it would not hesitate from releasing additional quota of sugar if there was an abnormal increase in prices.

Of the total allocation for November, 2.15 lakh tonnes of sugar will be for supply through ration shops and 14 lakh tonnes in the open market, the statement added.

Last month, the government had released 19.98 lakh tonnes of the sweetener.

The food ministry fixes the quantity of sugar to be released in the open market and ration shops every month and directs mills to sell the entire non-levy quota during the same month.

The government said the mills have been given 15 days extra, till November 15, to sell the non-levy sugar quota, meant for the open market, for October.

The non-levy quota of 14 lakh tonnes for November includes 92,000 tonnes of imported sugar.

The Centre had allowed duty-free imports of raw and refined sugar from February, 2009, to bridge the shortfall in availability of the sweetener and curb rising prices. India has imported 6 million tonnes of sugar since last year.

Sugar prices have declined by about 40 per cent since mid-January and are now at Rs 30-32 a kg in Delhi retail market.