New Delhi: The government is exploring options to address the issue of non-availability of feedstock like broken rice and maize that is being faced by ethanol manufacturers, Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said on Friday. "The distilleries are facing an issue due to non-availability of rice. They have told prices of maize and broken rice are ruling high. This issue is actually under our consideration. We are aware of the problem. Very shortly, we will take a suitable decision," he told reporters.
Last month, state-run Food Corporation of India stopped the supply of rice from its depots to ethanol makers. On industry body ISMA's demand for a hike in ethanol price to Rs 69.85 per litre, Chopra said a committee is deliberating this issue. "Whether the government will consider raising ethanol prices in the last month of this ethanol year (December-November). That is something that the government will take a call. No decision has been taken yet," he added.
The Secretary also mentioned that the share of grain-based ethanol has gradually increased in the last 2-3 years. It stood at 17 percent in 2021-22. In the current year, it has already crossed 17 per cent.
The ethanol blending with petrol has reached 11.7 percent so far and is hopeful of achieving the target of 12 percent this year, he said.
He also said that the government is looking at the shortage of grains for ethanol making. As a result, the government is now encouraging maize. Maize is used as an input for ethanol production globally. It was not happening in India somehow. The plan is to increase maize production in the next three years so that more maize is available for ethanol making, he added.