It’s time to convert sugar into ethanol: Nitin Gadkari

Deccan Sugar Rohit Pawar
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Pune, October 31, 2021: “We are spending Rs 12 lakh crore on imports of petroleum products from which Rs 8 lakh crore is spent on petrol, diesel and gas. While the country is importing 75-80% of petroleum products, the expenditure on imports will reach Rs 25 lakh crore in the next five years. In this context, we are working towards reducing the import of petroleum products as well as the development of indigenous fuels such as ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, biodiesel, green hydrogen to solve the problem of pollution. At the same time, the conversion of surplus sugar into ethanol is also important,” said Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways.

He was speaking at the 66th Annual Convention of the Deccan Sugar Technologists’ Association (DSTA) held at Yashada in Pune. DSTA was launched by Seth Walchand Hirachand in 1936 to introduce new technology related to sugar industry.

Murugesh Nirani, Minister of Large and Medium Industries of Karnataka, Shahaji Bhad, President, DSTA, Aarti Deshpande, Executive Secretary, DSTA, Shekhar Gaikwad, State Sugar Commissioner, Sohan Shirgaokar, Convener of the Convention Committee and of the Association, Narendra Mohan Agrawal, Director, National Sugar Institute, and Prakash Naiknavare, M.D. National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories among others were present during the convention, which was attended by selected members and was held online for rest of the members.

Dr. Pramod Chaudhari who’s known for his incomparable performance in the field of ethanol production, Narendra Mohan Agarwal, Kantibhai Patel, Dr. Balkrishna Jamadagni and B. D. Pawar were honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award while Murugesh Nirani, Rajabhau Shirgaonkar, Vidyadhar Anaskar, MLA Rohit Pawar, Samarjit Singh Ghadge and Hasmukh Bhai Bhakta were honoured with the Sakhar Udyog Gaurav Puraskar for their contribution to the sugar industry. The awards were in the form of souvenirs, shawls and coconuts.

Research papers related to fields like engineering, production, agriculture, co products and management that directly impact sugar factories and the related segments were invited from the members of the association spread across Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka. . This year the booklet had 42 research papers. The Mangal Singh Gold Medal for Best Research Paper was presented to M. S. Marathe, former Managing Director of National Federation of Cooperative Sugar factories of India.

Gadkari said, “While the country’s sugar requirement is 240 lakh tons, last year’s production exceeded 310 lakh tons. Excess sugar production in near future will be problematic, which is why we need to convert excess sugar into ethanol. We also plan to make the use of flex-fuel engines mandatory in the country in the next six months. If we can develop two and three-wheelers that run on ethanol in a city like Pune, it will be cost-effective and also reduce pollution.” He also lauded the work being done by the DSTA in the process of production and technology related to sugar industry.

Shahaji Bhad stated, “Coming years will be a golden age for sugar producers in the country as the   ethanol production will solve the problems that arise due to excess production of sugar.”

“After Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka are the major producers of sugar in the country, but today only Maharashtra is producing ethanol-related products across the country. There are more than 600 sugar factories across the country, out of which more than 200 are in Maharashtra and around 200 in Karnataka. It is getting difficult to survive in this sector as the price is to be paid as per FRP,” said Murugesh Nirani.

Dr. Pramod Chaudhari spoke on the subject of biofuels during the S. N. Gundu Memorial Lecture Series, while the Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Chemical Technology, Dr. A. B. Pandit shared his thoughts on the sugar industry at J.P. Mukherjee Memorial Lecture.

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