Ethanol blending delayed by liquor and import lobbies : BJP

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (UNI) Squarely blaming Union Agricultre Minister Sharad Pawar and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora for dumping the interests of farmers by refusing to implement the policy to blend petrol with five per cent ethanol, the BJP today alleged that the delay was due to pressures exerted by liquor and import lobbies.

BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said the Government was dilly dallying on its own decision to allow ethanol blending with petrol because the liquor units were seeking all the ethanol for themselves when the sugar units were ready to supply the ethanol for mixing with petrol. The Government has fixed the price at Rs 21.50 a litre but the petroleum companies were giving 'lame excuses' for allowing the blending, the party alleged.

Five per cent ethanol blending was allowed during the NDA regime when Mr Ram Naik was the Petroleum Minister and several sugar units had invested thousands of crores for ethanol extraction from the sugar cane without producing sugar or jaggary.

The Government now is not allowing this under pressure from liquor lobbies who felt threatened by the prospects of all the ethanol being used for petrol blending, he alleged.

There were about 250 sugar units which could produce ethanol in the states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and other sugar cane producing states.

India has allowed blending upto 10 per cent in the due course while in countries like Brazil, ethanol blending is allowed beyond 20 per cent.

He said Mr Pawar is supposed to take care of the interests of sugar cane farmers since they would be benefitted by value addition but he had chosen to remain silent while Mr Deora, the other cabinet colleague, too, was unwilling to open up his mind.

Recalling a meeting convened by Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh at Mumbai which was attended by senior Petroleum Ministry officials and Executives from Oil Marketing Companies, sources said the Maharashtra CM even went to the extent of issuing an indirect threat reminding the Oil Companies that they should not forget that all the corporate offices were located in Mumbai.

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