UP sugar mills not interested in converting old sugar to ethanol
PUNE: The food ministry’s latest notification allowing India’s sugar producers to convert surplus stocks into ethanol to be blended with petrol comes as an additional support measure for the industry.
However, mills in Uttar Pradesh, the top sugar-producing state, are not keen on converting old stocks to ethanol. In Maharashtra, they are undecided about the benefits of the scheme, even though the state’s sugar industry had pushed for permission to convert old sugar into ethanol.
The Sugarcane (Control) Amendment Order, 2019, dated November 19, allows only sugar factories to convert sugar, sugary syrup and sugarcane juice directly into ethanol. According to the amendment, every 600 litres of ethanol so produced will be considered equivalent to one tonne of sugar.
The government issued the order after the Maharashtra Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation (Sakharsangh) and the National Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation pursued the matter.
“Converting the old stock of sugar into ethanol may not be a prudent decision financially, but it is a wise business decision,” said Sanjay Khatal, managing director of Sakharsangh.
Mill incur a cost of Rs 6-7/kg to convert sugar into ethanol, which the government will buy at Rs 59.48/litre, and their realisation will be equivalent to the prevailing sugar price of Rs 31.50/kg.