Industry request Government to allow export of ethanol-based sanitisers
Distillery industry is requesting the government to allow the export of ethanol-based sanitisers. Various industry associations have made their representation for the same to the Government and respective authorities.
On March 24, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) had made an amendment in the export policy related to the export of sanitisers falling under any ITCHS code, including the ITCHS codes announced to be restricted till further notice.
Nipun Jain, Chairman, Small and Medium Pharma Manufacturers Association (SMPMA) said, “India is emerging as a major supplier of pharma in the world. However, the economy is dipping and pharma export can help to improve the situation. The government should consider lifting the restriction on the export of sanitisers, as we have ethanol in abundance in the country.”
He continued, “The government considers that there is a shortage of hand sanitisers in the country, as a result, it has restricted its exports. Whereas the fact is that shortage of hand sanitiser is only because there is no transport working to carry goods from the factory, courier staff is not coming etc. Our companies are ready to serve the foreign buyers who have placed orders with us, even before the phase first of lockdown was announced, which needs to be supplied to countries in Europe, Africa etc.”
Dr Rajesh Gupta, All India Head- Pharma Wing of Laghu Udyog Bharati said, “There is a huge demand for sanitisers and there have been repeated statements regarding the shortage of the same. It has been observed that Ethanol (Ethyl Alcohol) is a very effective sanitiser and is obtained from molasses, which is available in huge quantities and produced at large against the consumption during the nationwide lockdown. We, as the MSME industry, therefore, requested the DCGI to allow the export of the ethanol-based sanitisers to fulfil the huge needs of the world community at this critical juncture.”
Ajay Arora, Director, Kwality Pharmaceuticals said, “In India, we have above 3000 distilleries. In Punjab, we have three smalls and two big distilleries namely Hamira Distillery (Jagatjit Industries), Rana Sugar Mill and Pioneer Chemical in Pathankot. A small distillery like Pioneer is making 125000 litres of alcohol per day. The estimate of Hamira and Khasa distillery is 10 times more than this. Haryana, UP, Gujarat and South India are full of distilleries due to availability of molasses. The sugar cane production is considered in Punjab, Haryana, India (due to hot and humid and non-profit they have to grow sugar cane. During this lockdown, there is low sale of whisky and alcoholic drinks, but the distilleries, due to continuous processes, remained working. Now, they are full of alcohol and the molasses are under maturing condition. The distillery will compel them to shut down and the molasses will become very hazardous due to enzymatic reactions. This reaction cannot be stopped. There is a need to utilise the production and government needs to utilise alcohol for hand sanitisers when the sale of alcohol is reduced. ”
Arora continued, “There are 56 countries who need the supply of sanitisers from us, I recommend that instead of putting a restriction on export the government should regulate the activities. It will not only benefit the industry but also help the government during this healthcare and financial crisis.”
Incidentally, the molasses are also used in higher alcohols, like isopropyl alcohol, has only limited factories like Deepak Organics and VAM organics produce higher alcohol.
Vinod Jain, Director, Mahaveer Medisales, a Bengaluru-based distributor of pharma products informed that hand sanitisers are playing a key role to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But, soon after PM Modi announced the nationwide lockdown and the subsequent price capping on the sanitisers, it was a challenging task for us to ensure the maximum number of people gets it. Hence, we chalked out the plans area-wise and accordingly distributed it. Considering the situation, if we get more number of hand sanitisers, it will ultimately benefit the country.”