War on Covid-19: UP reopens mask, hand sanitiser units in Noida, Ghaziabad

Not only mask aand nd hsanitisers, but the production units of other essential commodities are to reopen as well
Amid the industrial and commercial lockdown to control the spread of pandemic coronavirus, the Uttar Pradesh government has started the process of reopening private sector mask and hand sanitiser making units in the Noida and Ghaziabad region, which had to close shop following the lockdown order.

Since the demand for these medical products has shot up, causing panic buying and acute shortage in the market, the state is taking all steps to augment production and supply.

“The process of restarting these units is on and several of these plants have already started to function. We are also sorting out their labour issues by issuing passes and advising the factory management to arrange for their stay inside the same premises for the time being,” UP micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) principal secretary Navneet Sehgal told Business Standard here today.

Not only mask and hand sanitisers, but the production units of other essential commodities viz. medicines, bread, wheat flour, biscuit etc, which had to shut down over the past few days owing to labour shortage or restriction on the movement are also being facilitated to reopen to pre-empt any shortage of these items in the local market.

The department has established a control room for the MSME entrepreneurs and issued a helpline number 9415467934, which could be accessed for the resolution of any industry related issues during the lockdown period.

Majority of the units affected by the lockdown order are located in big centres, including Noida, Ghaziabad, Lucknow and Kanpur, he informed.

Meanwhile, 33 new licenses for the manufacture of hand sanitiser had been issued by the state excise department, mainly to the captive distilleries of the private sector sugar mills in UP. These captive distilleries have proposed total manufacture of about 50,000 litres of sanitiser per day.

These sugar mills include all the major private sugar millers, including Balrampur Chini, Birla, Dalmia, Dhampur, Uttarm. According to UP Sugar Mills Association (UPSMA) secretary Deepak Guptara of the 94 private sugar mills, about 40 mills have captive distilleries, comprising both the big groups and standalone mills.

Some sugar companies have also proposed to produce bulk quantities of hand sanitisers and supply it to other firms for bottling and marketing. Besides, mills have firmed up contracts to supply ethanol/ethyl alcohol/extra neutral alcohol (ENA) to external sanitiser units inside and outside the state.

Last week, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) had written to the Centre assuring that the domestic sugar industry would supply adequate quantities of ethanol or extra neutral alcohol (ENA) according to the requirement for use in the manufacture of hand sanitisers.

While, the hand sanitisers are normally based on isopropyl alcohol (IPA), they could also be effectively manufactured with ethanol/ethyl alcohol/ENA based formula.

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