MUMBAI, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Indian sugar mills produced 11.54 million tonnes of the sweetener between Oct. 1 and Jan. 31, nearly 17 percent lower than a year earlier, a producers' body said on Monday, hurt by delays in cane crushing.
Cane crushing was delayed by nearly a month due to a price row between mills and cane growers in the world's biggest sugar consumer.
Three sugar mills have stopped operations in top sugar producing Maharashtra state, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) said in a statement.
The association said a sharp drop in prices over the last few months had build arrears as mills are not in a position to pay farmers promptly-promised price.
Arrears at the end of January are estimated at around 100 billion rupees ($1.60 billion), the ISMA said.
India's 2013/14 sugar output is expected at 25 million tonnes compared with 25.1 million tonnes produced in the previous year. ($1 = 62.6550 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)