Ajit Pawar/ File Photo
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, on Monday, told the media that he met Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to discuss the Centre's ban on the use of sugarcane juice or syrup to produce ethanol.
According to the report in PTI, Pawar, while interacting with reporters in Vidhan Bhavan premises, said that he met Gadkari on Sunday and discussed the ban.
He then added that the issue needs to be addressed at the union level as well and that he will meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah soon.
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The Union government, last week, announced a ban on the use of sugarcane juice and sugar syrup for ethanol production in the 2023-24 supply year that began in December to maintain adequate sugar availability for domestic consumption and to control the price rise of the commodity.
The PTI report stated that the government, though, has allowed the use of 'B-molasses', a cane by-product for the production of the organic compound in 2023-24. Ajit Pawar was quoted as saying, "Since this issue is at the Central level, we will have to visit Delhi and meet Union Minister Amit Shah and the others concerned. And we will be meeting them soon."
Ethanol is a colourless liquid which is blended with fuel as part of the government's initiative to reduce reliance on crude oil imports.
Ajit Pawar had earlier dubbed the ban on ethanol production using sugarcane syrup as a "sudden" move. Reportedly, various sugar mills invested in ethanol plants with five per cent of their capital and 95 per cent of borrowed funds, Deputy CM Pawar had told the legislative assembly after Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders raised the issue in the house on December 8.
CM Shinde's assurance to onion farmers
Concurrently, on Monday, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde stated that he will ensure that farmer losses due to the ongoing ban on onion exports are avoided. According to PTI, Shinde, who was visiting the party office at Vidhan Bhavan in Nagpur ahead of the state legislature's winter session, addressed concerns of onion farmers after the Union government decided to prohibit onion exports until March 31, 2024, to stabilise domestic onion prices.
With agency inputs