The Centre on Tuesday increased the prices of different grades of ethanol under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme for the forthcoming 2019-20 sugar season.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Tuesday gave its nod for the decision. The price of ethanol derived from the C-heavy molasses route has been increased to ₹43.75 a litre from ₹43.46. That from the B-heavy molasses route has been hiked to ₹54.27 a litre from ₹52.43. Ethanol from sugarcane juice/sugar/sugar syrup route has been fixed at ₹59.48 a litre from ₹59.19.

The revised prices will be applicable during the ethanol supply year from December 1, 2019 to November 30, 2020.

The Centre expects ethanol availability for the EBP Programme to increase significantly due to higher prices being offered for procurement from all the sugarcane-based routes; subsuming the ‘partial sugarcane juice route’ and ‘100 per cent sugarcane juice route’ under the ‘sugarcane juice route’; and, for the first time, allowing sugar and sugar syrup for ethanol production.

Speaking to reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said: “We are likely to achieve 7 per cent nationwide ethanol blending with petrol next year. Going by the current rate of growth, we are confident of meeting the 10 per cent EBP target by the 75th year of India’s Independence.”

“Ethanol production in the country has risen from 38 crore litre during the ethanol supply year 2013-14 to over 200 crore litre in 2018-19. The current blending levels stand at 6.20 per cent. Next year, we expect that 260 crore litre of ethanol will be supplied for blending and help meet 7 per cent of the blending levels,” he added.

Abinash Verma, Director General at the Indian Sugar Mills Association, said the decision to raise ethanol prices again, with a special emphasis on ethanol made from B-heavy molasses, is a positive for the sector.