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Coronavirus: Maharashtra govt to consider tapping ethanol produced in sugar mills to make sanitisers

Ethanol, the active ingredient of hand sanitisers, is manufactured by sugar mills as a by-product. Mills sell this to oil marketing companies as a fuel additive. Sanitisers use 70 per cent ethanol along with water and other ingredients.

Written by Partha Sarathi Biswas | Mumbai | Updated: March 20, 2020 10:42:08 am
Coronavirus: Maharashtra govt to consider tapping ethanol produced in sugar mills to make sanitisers Since the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), hand sanitisers have become short in supply. (File)

Maharashtra state government will consider tapping ethanol produced in the sugar mills to manufacture hand sanitisers. Amit Deshmukh, minister of medical education and culture whose family controls multiple sugar mills in the state, said he will look into the proposal actively.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), hand sanitisers have become short in supply. The central government has put hand santisers and masks under the Essential Commodities Act to stop them from being hoarded. This high demand had seen black marketing and sale of spurious sales of hand sanitisers. Given the importance of hand hygiene, sanitisers have come in use during the pandemic. Maharashtra has reported maximum number of coronavirus cases in India so far.

Ethanol, the active ingredient of hand sanitisers, is manufactured by sugar mills as a by-product. Mills sell this to oil marketing companies as a fuel additive. Sanitisers use 70 per cent ethanol along with water and other ingredients. Deshmukh said he will explore this route of using ethanol manufactured in the mills to ensure proper supply of hand sanitisers in the state.

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