For sugarcane farmers in the district, and the rest of Uttar Pradesh, the new mill is a potential gamechanger. If it succeeds, it will open up the possibility of sugarcane’s evolution into a full-fledged energy crop.
Come September and Gonda will have a new sugar mill, but with a difference: It won’t produce any sugar and, instead, convert the entire juice from cane into ethanol for blending with petrol.
Costing Rs 450 crore, this factory of Balrampur Chini Mills Ltd is coming up at Maizapur in Gonda district’s Colonelganj tehsil. The 200-acre site, where work is in full swing, already houses a mill with a capacity to crush 3,000 tonnes cane daily (tcd). That mill is going to make way for what will be India’s largest single-tandem and multiple-feedstock distillery of 343 kilo-litres per day capacity. “It’s a new 4,000-tcd plant, which can also process about 800 tonnes of grain and 1,100-1,200 tonnes of molasses per day in the off-season when cane isn’t available. We will use cane for 150-160 days during the crushing season (November-April), stored molasses (mainly from the company’s other mills) for the next 50-60 days and broken rice (mostly sourced from the open market) for another 140-150 days. In this way, it can operate for 350 days of the year, unlike a regular sugar mill,” explained Sandeep Agarwal, unit head at Maizapur.