Despite govt push, few takers for ethanol in UP
The Central government’s push for ethanol production from sugarcane may not reap any real benefits for the farmers failing to register as a viable alternative against falling oil prices. The dwindling interest in ethanol is caused by falling global crude oil prices and depots no longer need to mix ethanol with petrol. Over 1 crore liters of ethanol have been produced in Bijnor district alone. There are 40 distilleries across UP that produce ethanol.
While factories have produced ethanol on a large scale, they have had to store it all up. They are not sure when they will find the buyers, sources said.
Narpat Singh, the head of Barkatpur Sugar Mill’s ethanol unit, said, “We have a stock of 32.39 lakh liters at our ethanol production unit. This ethanol is meant to be supplied to oil depots in Delhi, Panipat, Punjab and Najibabad. Our money is now tied up in this as we are unable to find buyers. Failing to do so, we may have to shut down ethanol production altogether.”
A source in the district sugarcane department said, “There are four distilleries in Bijnor that have a stock of 1.1 crore liters of ethanol. Oil depots buy ethanol at a price of Rs 41 per liter. The reason why this stock is not being sold is the fall in global crude oil prices. Oil prices are now close to $30 per barrel in the international market. Since crude oil is available so cheaply, the oil depots are not interested in buying ethanol anymore. The sale of ethanol is going on at a very slow pace right now. The government’s decision to push for ethanol production is a good idea but the fuel needs to be sold as well. If the sale picks up, then the revenue earned from this can be used to clear the pending sugarcane arrears to farmers in the state.”