Industries suffer because of no ethanol availability


Sanitizer and pharmaceutical manufacturers have to cut down their production as there is no supply of ethanol to produce the material.

Jammu: New Excise Policy is affecting sanitizer and pharmaceutical manufactures as they require ethanol for production, and are finding it challenging to procure it.  Ethanol is one of the most critical ingredients of the production of these products.

The new policy by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir plans to bring down harmful effects of liquor and alcoholic beverages and encourage a transition from high to low alcoholic content beverages.

Since ethanol is not produced in Jammu and Kashmir, the companies have to get permits from the State to procure it from Punjab or Himachal Pradesh, and since the implementation  of the new policy, there have been delays in the passing of the permits. 

Sanjay Mehra, Owner of Tasya Herbals, one of the sanitizer producers in Jammu, said, “Even though the new policy is providing us with licenses to produce sanitizers, it has delayed the process by a lot. Last year we were supplying sanitizers to the Army and many companies, but because of the delay, our business has been affected, and we have had to say no to a lot of companies.”

“Last year we imported somewhere between 80-100 tonnes of Ethanol. This year we haven’t been able to do so, which has affected the business,” added Sanjay Mehra. 

It’s not just the sanitizer business that has been affected, and the pharma industry is also suffering because of it. Himanshu, working at Lupin Ltd, manufacturer of pharmaceuticals in Jammu, said, “We have had to switch from Ethanol to Isopropyl Alcohol because of no supply and also due to the high cost it was being sold at.” 

“Last year what happened was, the unit kept producing sanitizers and the salaries of the workforce also continued. Maybe, if the cases keep increasing and there is no clarity about the permits, we might lay off our workers for three or four weeks and restart again when we get the permit,” Sanay Mehra added. 

According to the manufacturers, Rakesh Sharma, Excise Commissioner Jammu and Kashmir, said that taking approval to pass a permit or license at every level in the department is time-consuming. The files have to be re-checked at least twice before giving the final approval, which has delayed the process by a lot.