“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.