Coronavirus: UP sugar mills apply for hand sanitiser manufacturing licenses

Ssome sugar companies have proposed to only produce bulk quantities of hand sanitisers and supply it to other firms for bottling and marketing.
Amid the rising demand for hand sanitisers to curb the spread of coronavirus, the private sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh have applied for the drug license to manufacture the medicinal product at their captive distilleries.

All the major private sugar companies in UP including Balrampur Chini, Birla, Dalmia, Dhampur, Uttarm etc have already applied for the licenses, while several others are in the process of following suit.

These mills have already proposed to manufacture more than 15,000 litres of hand sanitisers a day in their distilleries across the state. Of which Dhampur and Birla would produce estimated  5,000 litres and 4,000 litres respectively, whereas Balrampur, Uttam, and Daurala groups have proposed hand sanitiser production of 2,000 litres each.

“The process of granting licenses to these units has been speeded up given the contingency situation at the moment due to the coronavirus outbreak. The movement of goods regarding the hand sanitiser raw material and finished goods has been exempted from the restriction imposed due to the lockdown order,” a senior UP sugarcane department official told Business Standard here.

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.

Meanwhile, some sugar companies have proposed to only produce bulk quantities of hand sanitisers and supply it to other firms for bottling and marketing.

Besides, sugar 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.

Recently, the local drug manufacturers had alleged about the black marketing of isopropyl alcohol (IPA), used in hand sanitisers, in the state was inhibiting their plans to increase production.

UP Drug Manufacturers Association (UPDMA) president Prashant Bhatiya said IPA was being sold for Rs 360 per litre in the state black market against its normal price of Rs 95 per litre.

Hand sanitisers could also be effectively manufactured with ethanol/ethyl alcohol/ENA, as advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Bhatiya alleged there were bottlenecks in the supply of ethanol from the state distilleries as well.

UPDMA has already written to chief minister Yogi Adityanath to facilitate the easy availability of these raw materials in the state and pledging to manufacture hand sanitisers on a “war footing’ to meet the growing demand.

The UP government has urged the surgical mask and hand sanitiser units operating in the state to augment their production by working in three shifts a day even as new units were promised with speedier approvals.

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