New Delhi: The Central government on Thursday issued a directive instructing sugar mills and distilleries to refrain from utilizing sugarcane juice for ethanol production in order to ensure a sufficient supply of sweetener for domestic use and keep prices under check.
However, the food ministry, through a letter addressed to the Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of all sugar mills and distilleries, affirmed that the supply of ethanol to oil marketing companies from B-heavy molasses will continue.
Food Ministry letter to sugar mills
"In exercise of powers conferred under clause 4 & 5 of the Sugar (Control) Order 1966, it is directed to all sugar mills and distilleries not to use sugarcane juice /sugar syrup for ethanol in ESY (ethanol supply year) 2023-24 with immediate effect.
"Supply of ethanol from existing offers received by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) from B-Heavy molasses will continue," Food ministry said in the letter.
Sugar output may remain subdued this year
Due to below-average rainfall in the sugarcane-growing areas this year, the sugar output is likely to remain subdued. The sugar commissionerate had earlier predicted that in the 2023-24 sugar manufacturing season, 1,022 lakh metric tonnes of sugarcane will be available for crushing and 103.58 lakh metric tonnes of sugar will be produced.
Fifteen lakh metric tonnes of sugarcane can be diverted for ethanol production, it said. The number of days of the sugar production season may also come down this year amid lesser sugarcane production, the office predicted through a report.
(With PTI inputs)