Nitish asks Centre to allow production of ethanol from sugarcane

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Patna, Jun 9 (UNI) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today urged the Centre to allow production of ethanol from sugarcane as it would help the state emerge as an ethanol hub.

In his letter to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, copies of which were circulated here in the media, Mr Kumar said, '' The mainstay of the state's economy is agriculture and the government has planned to develop the state as an ethanol hub of the country. '' The state government had amended the existing legislation, and the Bihar Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase, Amendment) Bill was passed by the State Legislature in March, 2007 for direct production of ethanol from the sugarcane.

The legislation was still pending for Presidential assent.

Mr Kumar maintained that as per amendment of certain provisions of the Sugarcane Control Order, 1966 by the Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ministry, only existing sugarcane mills could produce ethanol directly from sugarcane juice.

The Centre's amendment had adversely affected the state's efforts to attract investors for establishing units producing ethanol from sugarcane.

He referred the letter of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh written on December 13, 2007 in which he had stressed the need for developing the country into an ethanol hub as the country was one of the largest sugarcane producers and said the Centre's amendment was contrary to the opinion of Dr Singh.

Mr Kumar also requested the Centre to immediately review the recent amendment of the Sugarcane Control Order, 1966 to allow production of ethanol from sugracane juice without any condition to manufacture sugar.

UNI RS-RH SJC SB KN1912

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