Around 20 per cent of overall distillery capacity in Uttar Pradesh has closed due to a crackdown by the government through regular raids from the state excise department.
According to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (Isma), there are about 55 functional distilleries in Uttar Pradesh, mostly in the private sector with 1.109 million tonnes of installed distillation capacity.
The government has sent closure notices to nearly 20 per cent of these units, discovering some lacunae in the process of cane crushing, said S L Gupta, president of the Uttar Pradesh Sugar Mills Association. A majority of units situated in Lakhimpur, Meerut, Balrampur and Sitapur are closed.
Distilleries produce rectified spirit, a by-product of sugar and refined to produce potable alcohol and ethanol.
There is a limit on these units to store molasses and of late, the swoop by the excise department has led to the closure of some in western UP. Besides, there is a regular check by the Pollution Control Board on these units.
“The excise department has taken action against some distilleries,” an official with a major producer told Business Standard. According to sources, at least three distilleries, one each belonging to the Mawana, Balrampur and Bajaj Hindusthan groups have been closed following action by the excise department recently.
Meanwhile, the case filed by sugar mills challenging the mechanism of fixing a state advised price by the state government in Uttar Pradesh at the Allahabad High Court has been postponed for the third time.