PMK leader S Ramadoss on Sunday asked the Tamil Nadu government to allow production of ethanol by all the 46 sugar mills in the state. Referring to a tender floated by PSU Bharath Petroleum Corporation on Saturday, inviting bids for supply of 280.89 crore litres of ethanol for the five per cent blending programme (with petrol), he said, “Sugar mills in Tamil Nadu are not in a position to use this rare opportunity.” He said only eight out of the 46 sugar mills in the state have been permitted to produce ethanol.
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“Though these mills can produce nine crore litres of ethanol a year, the government has fixed 50 lakh litres as the ceiling,” he said in a statement. Ramadoss said if all the sugar mills in the state were allowed to produce and sell ethanol, it would lead to additional revenue generation.
He alleged that the nod for ethanol production was not being given as it would pre-empt cane molasses availability for alcohol production.
“In Tamil Nadu, sugar mills owe Rs 1,050 crore arrears to sugar cane farmers. If sugar mills are allowed to produce ethanol, it will be possible to clear the entire arrear in a single year.”
Such a step will also help “increase the procurement price for canes,” he said. Referring to the 2016 Assembly election manifesto of the ruling AIADMK that “sugar mills will be encouraged to produce ethanol,” Ramadoss said the government should give permission for ethanol production immediately, in tune with the onset of the annual crushing season, which is set to begin soon.
Ethanol is a byproduct of cane molasses in sugar production. A huge sum of Rs 65,250 crore in black money was declared through the one-time domestic black money declaration window also known as IDS, marking the biggest-ever disclosure of hidden wealth that will rake in about Rs 30,000 crore in taxes to the exchequer.
Last year, under a similar scheme for foreign black money holders, 644 declarations of undisclosed foreign income and assets were received, and just Rs 2,428 crore was collected in taxes.
The government had earlier made it clear that those who hide their black wealth after the closure of these two opportunities will have to face legal consequences emerging out from the action of tax and financial enforcement agencies.