Su­gar mills can help slash the en­ergy bill: Petroleum Minister

The Hindu Business Line - - COMMODITIES -

Just as they made In­dia self­suf­fi­cient in su­gar, In­dian su­gar mills can play a ma­jor role in mak­ing the coun­try self-re­liant in meet­ing its en­ergy re­quire­ment, said the Minister of Petroleum and Nat­u­ral Gas Dhar­men­dra Prad­han, on Fri­day.

Use agri-waste

Apart from pro­duc­ing bioethanol, the mills should also ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of get­ting into to mak­ing fuel from the abun­dantly avail­able agri­cul­tural waste, he said while in­au­gu­rat­ing the 84th an­nual gen­eral meet­ing of the In­dian Su­gar Mills As­so­ci­a­tion (ISMA) here.

Such a diver­si­fi­ca­tion will be good for su­gar mills also, he said.

Ac­cord­ing to him, es­ti­mates show that 600 mil­lion tonnes of agri­cul­tural waste get gen­er­ated, which can eas­ily be con­verted into fuel as tech­nolo­gies al­ready ex­ist, he said. This will stand the coun­try in good stead as 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 Minister of Petroleum Dhar­men­dra Prad­han

climb to first or sec­ond po­si­tion in the next 25 years, as per the pro­jec­tions made by the In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency, the Minister said.

In his pres­i­den­tial ad­dress, out­go­ing ISMA pres­i­dent Gau­rav Goel re­quested Prad­han’s help in re­form­ing the sug­ar­cane pric­ing pol­icy.

Re­form cane pric­ing

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, said Goel, who is also the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mills.

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

Ac­cord­ing to Goel, this year su­gar mills in the coun­try have con­tracted to sup­ply 260 crore litres of ethanol, which is enough for eight per cent blend­ing, in the cur­rent sea­son.

The out­go­ing ISMA pres­i­dent also used this oc­ca­sion to air an in­dus­try griev­ance about a cou­ple of States tax­ing rec­ti­fied spirit (RS) and ex­tra neu­tral al­co­hol (ENA), the in­ter­me­di­ate prod­ucts of su­gar pro­duc­tion. Prior to the in­tro­duc­tion of the Goods and Ser­vices Tax, RS and ENA were not taxed as they are in­ter­me­di­ate prod­ucts and not fit for hu­man con­sump­tion. But fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of GST, States like Andhra Pradesh have started tax­ing RS and ENA.

Ro­hit Pawar, CEO of Bara­mati Agro Lim­ited, takes over as pres­i­dent of ISMA. of Dham­pur Su­gar

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