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Dharmendra Pradhan: Ethanol Blending To Reach 8% In 2018-19

While inaugurating the 84th Annual General Meeting of Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan said on Friday, “Indian sugar mills can play a major role in making the country self-reliant in meeting its energy requirement, like they made India self-sufficient in sugar.

He suggested in converting, 600 million tonnes of agricultural waste into fuel as technologies already exist. The energy requirement is expected to go up significantly over the years at the current rate of growth. India, which is one of the largest consumers of energy would climb to first or second position in the next 25 years, as per the projections made by the International Energy Agency, he said.

He further added, “The Sugar industry should look at producing ethanol from other sources such as rice waste. Blending of ethanol with petrol has reached 4% from 1-1.5% in the last four years. In the 2018-19 sugar year (October-September), the blending level will reach 7-8 percent. Such diversification will also be good for sugar mills. The government will boost ethanol production for the welfare of farmers and to meet the energy requirements.

“The government has provided soft loans to the first group of applications for creating ethanol capacity and it is committed to sanctioning loans for the second group. In June, the government approved Rs 4,440 crore soft loans for building ethanol production capacity to absorb the excess cane. It will bear interest subvention of Rs 1,332 crore over a period of five years, including moratorium period of one year,” he said.

ISMA President, Gaurav Goel requested the Minister to help in reforming sugarcane pricing policy and that the government should link sugarcane price to sugar rates which will serve as a long term solution for this sector.

He said, “The ethanol blending level will reach 8% in 2018-19 as orders for 260 crore litres have been received from OMCs. For 10% blending, there is a requirement of 330 crore litres of ethanol.

The sugar production is likely to fall to 31.5 million tonnes in the current marketing year as against 32.5 million tonnes in the previous year. The annual domestic demand is 26 million tonnes. The opening stock was 10.7 million tonnes as on October 1.

Goel said mills have contracted to export 1 million tonnes of sugar out of 5 million tonnes quota earmarked by the government for 2018-19. He recommended a strict action against mills which do not export sugar.

India must be the only country amongst the large sugar producing nations which does not have a rationalised sugarcane pricing policy linked to revenue realisation or sugar price, he said.

“We continue to have a system where the Government fixes a price of sugarcane, which has continuously increased even when the sugar prices have fallen. Such a policy was making Indian sugar uncompetitive in the global market.”

On the same occasion of Annual General Meeting of ISMA, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan; Rohit Pawar, CEO of Baramati Agro Ltd who takes over as President of ISMA; Dr. Bakshi Ram, Director ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute appreciated the efforts of Krishi Jagran for reaching out to the farmers by providing them with beneficial information related to subsidies, farming and agriculture.



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