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Union government sets export target for sugar mills

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

New Delhi: In a bid to assist farmers, the Union government on Friday set an export target for the sugar mills. The mills have been given a target of 4 million tonnes of sugar that they need to export for the marketing year ending September 2016.

Photo Credit: news24online.com
Photo Credit: news24online.com

The targets if achieved will help the sugar mills to clear their cane arrears of Rs.14,000 crore to farmers.

“The export quota of four million tonnes (MT) of all grades of sugar has been fixed for sugar factories for 2015-16 marketing year,” the food ministry said in a circular here.

“In view of the inventory levels with the sugar industry and to facilitate achievements of financial liquidity and enable industry to achieve long-run viability, minimum indicative export quotas (MIEQ) are being specified for 2015- 16 sugar season from October 1,” the circular said.

Sugar production is estimated to be at a record 28.3 million tonnes in 2014-15 marketing year (October-September) while the total annual demand is around 24.5 million tonnes.

Due to surplus sugar production, sugar prices in the country have fallen below Rs.20 per kg, while the current cost of production is over Rs.30 a kg.

“The decision of the government to export 4 million tonnes of sugar fixing individual export quotas for each sugar mill will help reduce most of the surplus sugar, which has been depressing domestic sugar prices,” Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) director general Abinash Verma said in a statement here.

“The market sentiments which are down, should improve with this decision and the ex-mill sugar prices which had fallen by Rs.8 to Rs.10 per kilo in last 14 to 16 months, will see some recovery,” he added.

Following a call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider sugar exports, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had said last month that a proposal was under consideration to ship four million tonnes on terms, including barter trade.

“We want to export sugar to those countries where there is a requirement. The industry must take initiative in this regard,” Paswan told reporters on the margins of a conference here. “We also want to promote barter. Otherwise, 40 percent import duty will be fixed and it will be of no use.”

Modi had called for higher ethanol content in petrol and a concerted effort to push exports in a bid to lower the current sugar surplus and protect the interests of farmers to whom factories owe an estimated Rs.15,000 crore in cane arrears.

Besides the arrears to farmers, the meeting came against the backdrop of the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) estimating sugar output for the sugar season 2014-15 (October to September) at 28.3 million tonnes, another 28 million tonnes in the next season, and a carry over of 10 million tonnes.

As a result, supplies have outstripped demand for the fifth straight year. The annual demand is around 25-26 million tonnes.

To address the issues at hand, the government has extended a soft loan of Rs.6,000 crore for the clearance of arrears, raised the import duty on sugar from 15 to 40 percent, increased the export subsidy to Rs.4,000 per tonne and raised the level of ethanol blending in petrol to 10 percent.

The government also allowed the export of an additional 2,095 tonnes of raw sugar to the US under the tariff rate quota, under which imports there attract a relatively lower customs duty. Prior to that, 8,424 tonnes of raw sugar had been notified for export to the US.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)