Hand sanitiser supply to improve as liquor makers step in: Industry body

Supply of hand sanitisers in the market is set to increase in the coming days, with liquor makers in various states starting to manufacture them on a priority basis, according to an industry grouping.

All India Distillers' Association (AIDA) on Wednesday said distilleries in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and other states have started production of hand sanitisers.

This follows appeals by various state governments amid rising demand for hand sanitisers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many state governments have granted licenses to distillers in quick time, in some cases the same day, to manufacture and sell hand sanitisers. They would be sold at the central government-mandated price limits, a senior AIDA representative said.

"Availability of hand sanitisers would improve in the market within a couple of days... within three to four days, we would have sufficient quantity in the market," said AIDA Director General V N Raina.

According to him, around 45 to 50 distilleries in the country have agreed to produce hand sanitisers.

There was panic buying of hand sanitisers in the market following cases of coronavirus infections being reported in the country. Though several FMCG companies, including HUL, ITC, Godrej and Himalaya, have expanded their production of hand sanitisers, there still seems to be supply shortage due to the high demand.

To tackle the situation, Raina said the central government has directed all states to immediately grant licenses to distilleries for manufacturing hand sanitisers.

"Lots of distillers do not have packing facilities as in small bottles of 100 ml or 200 ml. Generally, they have only liquor bottles for packing. Despite that around 45-50 distilleries are doing that," he said.

As per the WHO standards, the base for hand sanitisers is alcohol.

"I am happy that our members and the industry have responded to this crisis very well. The government is also very happy about the way we have responded to the current situation," Raina said.

Several liquor makers, including market leader Diageo and Radico Khaitan, have already announced that they would manufacture and supply hand sanitisers.

Last week, the government capped the maximum retail price of hand sanitiser at Rs 100 per 200 ml bottle till June 30, amid a sharp rise in prices.

The government on Tuesday banned export of all sanitisers and ventilators with immediate effect in wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Export of all sanitisers...is prohibited, with immediate effect," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel