At sugar conclave, Nitin Gadkari seeks to increase sugar factories’ ethanol production: ‘Sell it directly as fuel’

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday stressed the need for sugar mills to switch to more ethanol production.

Speaking at the Sugar Conclave hosted by the Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) in Pune, Gadkari said ethanol production needs to be accelerated given the multitude of policies the central government has in the works, which include, among others, flexible motor vehicles.

The event was attended virtually by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar physically attended the event.

Ethanol, the fuel additive derived from molasses – the sticky product generated during the production of sugar from cane juice – has proven profitable for the sugar industry, given the incentives that the central government has offered for its production.

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Several sugar mills in the country as well as Maharashtra have started producing ethanol and the state has seen the diversion of almost 15 lakh tonnes of sugar for the production of the fuel additive. Recently, the central government decided to postpone its 20% ethanol blending plan to 2025.

To achieve this level of blending, the country needs to produce 1,200 crore liters of ethanol, but at present the total production capacity is around 730 crore liters. be introduced. Plants should install pumps where ethanol will be directly sold as fuel. This will help factories become independent,” Gadkari said.

The Union Minister also requested VSI and its Chairman, Pawar, to develop suitable varieties for dissemination in Vidarbha. He said Vidarbha sugar industry has not developed much but there is still room for the same.

During the event, Pawar also spoke about the need to increase sugarcane acreage in Vidarbha region. The Gosekhurd project will help increase water availability in the region, he said. “Cane used to be the main crop in Vidarbha, but over the years farmers have shifted to other crops. The Vasantdada Sugar Institute should develop varieties suitable for the region,” he said. Pawar also urged mills to finalize their cane harvesting schedule well in advance. His remark comes as the state has experienced an unprecedented delay in finishing the current season. Till date, over 1,314 lakh tons of cane have been harvested with around 3 lakh tons, mostly in Marathwada, yet to be harvested.

He and other speakers also called on the state and central government to help factories procure mechanized harvesters.

Pawar also hailed Gadkari as the “voice of Maharashtra sugar cane growers in the Centre”.

Rachel J. Bradford