Distilleries in Maharashtra face a severe cutback in operations and ethanol output due to the state’s severe water shortage.
Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, president of the All India Ethanol Manufacturers Association, told Business Standard: “Of the 90 distilleries, a large number are located in drought-hit Sangli, Satara, Ahmad-nagar, Pune and Solapur districts. Maharashtra’s ethanol production during the current fiscal year is estimated at 52 crore litres, compared to 54 crore in 2011-12 and 68 crore in 2010-11.”
Of the 148 distilleries in the country with annual production capacity of 1,760 million litres, Maharashtra’s is 920 mn litres. However, says R G Mane, secretary of the Association, production has never touched this peak; it hovers between 540 mn and 720 mn litres.
“This year, due to drought conditions, the production estimate was lowered to 52 crore litres. Nearly 500,000 litres of water is required per distillery per day. However, there has already been a cut in water availability and the Association feels 80 per cent of the distillaries will close down by March and April, when a large number of sugar cooperatives complete their crushing, for want of sugarcane. The remaining distilleries are expected to function till the end of June but at a lower capacity,” he said.