Maharashtra sugar millers plan to start production of hand sanitisers soon

Partha Sarthi Biswas

Mills can produce hand sanitisers after getting a license from the state excise and foods and drugs commissioner. (Reuters/Representational)

Sugar millers in Maharashtra are planning to start production of hand sanitisers at their distillery units soon.

Bhairavnath B Thombare, president of the West India Sugar Mills Association (WISMA), said 70 private mills in the state have distillery units of which at least 30-40 could take up production of hand sanitisers.

“Production of hand sanitisers will not require much investment in terms of equipment or machinery,” he said.

After the central government asked sugar mills to start producing hand sanitisers at their units, WISMA requested its members to start production to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Mills can produce hand sanitisers after getting a license from the state excise and foods and drugs commissioner. The state government, Thombare said, has simplified the process of acquiring the license. “We can now get the licence within 24 hours and hope the process of manufacturing will start within the next week or so,” he said.

Ethanol forms the basic ingredient of sanitisers with manufacturers using 70 per cent of ethanol with gel and other additives.

This more than 99.95 per cent pure alcohol is formed as a byproduct in the sugar industry with millers producing this fuel additive in their distillery units.