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Reduce Sugar Production while Diversifying Agriculture into Energy & Power Sectors: Nitin Gadkari

While agriculture employs 65% to 70% of our population, our agricultural growth rate is only 12%-13%; the sugarcane industry and farmers are a growth engine for our industry. And the next step should be co-generation to increase sugar revenue.

Shivam Dwivedi
Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India
Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India

On the occasion, Manoj Ahuja also presented awards to deserving students. MANAGE Convocation 2022 was attended by faculty, staff, and parents of students who received awards and medals. The Minister urged the industry to focus on alternative fuels with the help of cutting-edge technology.

"While agriculture employs 65% to 70% of our population, our agricultural growth rate is only 12%-13%; the sugarcane industry and farmers are a growth engine for our industry. And the next step should be cogeneration to increase sugar revenue. The industry should produce less sugar and more byproducts, embrace the vision of future technologies, and use the power of leadership to transform knowledge into wealth." According to him, this will enable farmers to become not only food producers, but also energy producers.

The Minister stated that while our requirement for sugar this year was 280 lakh tonnes, production was more than 360 lakh tonnes, which could be used due to the situation in Brazil. However, because the ethanol requirement is so high, we must divert production to ethanol, according to the Minister. "Our capacity was 400 crore litres of ethanol last year; we have taken numerous initiatives to increase ethanol production. Now is the time for the industry to plan ethanol demand, using technologies such as bioethanol-powered power generators."

According to the Minister, the government has decided to launch flex engines in India. "Bajaj, Hero, and TVS are already producing flex engines, and many car manufacturers have promised to do the same. Bajaj, Hero, and TVS are already producing flex engines, and many automakers have promised to launch models powered by flex engines."

The Minister described how a critical issue concerning the calorific value of ethanol was addressed in discussions with Russian researchers. "The calorific value of ethanol was less, 1 litre of petrol equaled 1.3 litre of ethanol, but we have found a way to make the calorific value of ethanol the same as that of petrol using Russian technology."

The Minister stated that even auto-rickshaws can run on bioethanol; alternative fuels can also be used in the construction equipment industry; and Germany has proven technology to run trains on bio-ethanol. In addition, a highly purified version of ethanol can be used.

The Minister reminded the industry that there is potential for using harvesting technologies for sugarcane cutting. "Harvesting machines can run on ethanol, enabling the circular economy."

The Minister stated that the sugar industry faces numerous challenges, including the need for rationalisation of power purchase rates; some states are not providing rates in accordance with Central Government policy, which is one of the reasons why the sugarcane industry is not economically viable, the Minister stated, urging the industry to raise the issue in appropriate forums.

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