- ALSO READ
Speaking at a conference on sugar and ethanol, organised by the Indian Sugar Mills Association, Gadkari surprised the audience comprising senior executives of sugar mills by stating that the future will become bleak for the industry if it continues to churn out high quantities of sugar.
"We need more ethanol than sugar. Also, bio-ethanol is the way to go as it can be stored for a longer duration as compared to conventional ethanol. If you increase sugar production, it will create more problems for you. I will suggest that instead of waiting for some government programme s, find out a system where demand for ethanol can be independently created," he said.
My final advice to you all is that the industry should stand on its own health and create demand for ethanol and stop producing sugar as it isn't profitable anymore", Gadkari said.
He also argued that the sugar industry should try to create avenues through which ethanol could be sold directly to the automobile industry. “All automobile manufacturers should launch flexible fuel vehicles soon, and it will help to create more demand for ethanol,” he said.
Flexible-fuel vehicles or dual-fuel vehicles are an alternative fuel vehicle with an internal combustion engine designed to run on more than one fuel, usually gasoline blended with either ethanol or methanol fuel, and both fuels are stored in the same common tank. In a presentation, Akhilesh Goyal of Maa Rewa Sugar in Madhya Pradesh, pointed out that to transport almost 11 billion litres of ethanol by 2025 for 20 per cent blending, India would need over 350,000 tankers. These would emit an estimated 76 million tons of greenhouse gases. Ethanol transportation should therefore be through railway rakes, dedicated pipelines, he said.
Speaking at the same event, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said that all stakeholders in the ethanol space should create a common body to put forward their views which would help the government in smooth decision making. "The industry should ensure that blending is stable and systematic. Now that ethanol supplies have more or less stabilised we need to look at the demand side of ethanol," Pandey said.
Pandey added that the government will "very soon" announce the export quota of sugar for the next marketing year starting October.
The event on Wednesday saw ISMA reiterate its demand for an expedited sugar export policy, stating that at least eight million tonnes of exports are necessary in the sugar marketing season 2022-23. Earlier this year, ISMA had estimated that India’s sugar production in the 2022-23 season (October to September) was expected to be at around 39.97 MT.
"The sugar export policy can adopt either the system that was prevalent in season 2020-21 or under the Open General License (OGL) system prevalent in season 2021-22. Both systems have been tested and proved to be successful. Our humble submission is that you do not try your third system and do not experiment with it. Export of eight million terms of the commodity is very important for the sugar industry," Vivek Pittie, Director, Harinagar Mills in Mumbai and a member of ISMA said.
In the 2021-22 marketing year ending September, the Centre has allowed 1.2 million tonnes (MT) of sugar exports, over and above the 10 MT already fixed, due to higher-than-anticipated domestic production.
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.
First Published: Wed, September 21 2022. 22:29 IST