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Reduce Sugar Production Increase Conversion To Ethanol To Keep Industry In Good Health Gadkari

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has given a clarion call to the sugar factories to make a shift to the conversion of sugar into ethanol, in line with the realities of changing times and the needs of the nation.

Gadkari while addressing the Sugar and Ethanol India Conference (SEIC) 2022 on Sunday, warned the leaders of sugar and allied industries that if sugar production goes ahead as it does now, it will be harmful to the industry in times to come.

Reminding them that as a country, we are rice-surplus, corn-surplus and sugar-surplus, Gadkari said that what is good for our future is to reduce the production of sugar and increase ethanol production.

The minister informed that the centre has decided to open biofuel outlets for citizens to fill ethanol and that cars, scooters, motorcycles and rickshaws can be available on flex engines.

“The Prime Minister has inaugurated three ethanol pumps in Pune; however, no one has come so far to fill ethanol. However, Bajaj, TVS and Hero have launched motorcycles driven by flex engines; scooters and motorcycles are available on flex engines. They are ready to come up with auto-rickshaws as well.”

Gadkari exhorted all sugar factories that manufacture ethanol to open ethanol pumps in their factories and other areas. “This can bring in 100 per cent ethanol-run scooters, auto-rickshaws and cars and thus increase ethanol consumption, reduce pollution, bring down imports and also provide jobs to people in villages,” he said.

“Ethanol is a green and clean fuel; we are producing 465 crore litres of ethanol at present. However, when the E-20 programme gets completed, our requirement will become around 1,500 crore litres. Moreover, in the coming five years, when flex engines get ready, ethanol requirements will become 4,000 crore litres,” he added.

Hence, if you do not convert to ethanol and keep producing sugar, the factory will become loss-making, cautioned the Minister. A viable alternative is to produce syrup from sugarcane juice and produce ethanol from that as well, he added.

“India has promised that we will stop sugar export subsidies after December 2023. Hence, every factory should go into B molasses. Only if we discourage sugar production will we be able to get a reasonable price for sugar,” the minister said.

Gadkari mentioned that the government had reserved 245 crore litres for B molasses; however, only 55 crore litres or 22 per cent has been supplied, which indicates a significant gap.

“Hence, this is a safe way by which sugar factories can also be saved and our economics will also be favourable due to ethanol,” he said.

Gadkari added that sea-heavy molasses should be discouraged and that the industry should think of producing ethanol from broken rice as well.

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