Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday announced that the state sugar sector would witness the setting up of ethanol and distillery plants from next year for greater commercial viability.
Owing to sugar market glut and falling prices, the domestic sugar companies have been facing cash flow challenges, which had prompted commercial banks to put the sector in the negative list.
Addressing a function here, Adityanath said the 24 cooperative sugar mills would soon be equipped with the additional distillery and power cogeneration units so that they were more viable and created more jobs at the local level. He stressed that sugar sector played a major role in UP’s economy and rural prosperity.
Besides, he said the state sugar complexes would witness new units to produce ethanol directly from sugarcane juice from next year. This would allow mills to plan their production according to market demands and supply matrices to insulate themselves from adverse conditions, such as higher sugar production amid global market glut.
Currently, the fuel in UP is mixed with 10% ethanol due to higher production with a large quantity also supplied to other states.
The CM blamed the previous UP governments for purportedly creating a mess in the state sugar space during their regimes, which translated into the closure and sale of sugar mills.
“The state sugarcane farmers have for the past 125-150 years contributed towards the prosperity of the farm sector, but they were facing the peril of this important cash crop segment turning non-remunerative under the previous regimes,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, he handed over appointment letters to 851 newly selected Cane Supervisors, while 437 more candidates would be appointed in due course to fill all the vacant posts after a gap of nearly 20 years in UP.
Meanwhile, Adityanath stressed his government was committed to ensuring that sugarcane farmers were not put to hardships during the process of supplying cane to mills and that there was no under-weighing of their cash crop.
Further, he announced that all the 119 state sugar mills would become operational by Sunday, while 2 additional mills would start crushing from next year at Gorakhpur and Basti district. So far, about 80 mills are functional.
“We have issued 50 new khandsari (unrefined sugar) licenses this year for the benefit of sugarcane farmers and more licenses would be issued on demand,” he noted.
Meanwhile, UP sugar mills owe about Rs 68 billion in sugarcane arrears for the previous season 2017-18. Earlier, Adityanath had set the deadline of November 30 for mills to settle their arrears although he had at multiple occasions conceded that the sugar sector was facing crisis owing to glut and crash in the global sugar prices. His government had announced a package of Rs 40 billion in the form of soft loan to private mills with the last date of applying fixed as October 31.