Maharashtra sugar mills banking on ethanol production

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Mumbai: Government is emphasising on ethanol production to strengthen the financial condition of sugar mills and to help them to clear cane arrears.

This year, sugar mills from Maharashtra can produce excess ethanol than the requirement of oil companies. Till March end, mills have produced 13.36 crore litre ethanol. Out of which 7.50 crore litre is produced by co-operative mills.

The mills are heading towards the target despite the region facing a drought-like situation. The ethanol produced so far has been supplied to Gujarat, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Goa and Karnataka.

The central government has fixed target of blending 20% ethanol with petrol. Ethanol is produced from sugarcane juice, jaggery, maize and other grains.

In the current crushing season, sugarcane mills across the country have contracted to supply 237 crore litres of ethanol to the oil companies. The capacity of ethanol production in Maharashtra’s 72 mills is 57.18 crore litre.

The central government had announced a grant of Rs 8,500 crore to the sugar industry in June 2018. Of these, 4,440 crores were given, in the form of a soft loan, for increasing the production capacity of ethanol.

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