The Bihar cabinet in its meeting held on Tuesday gave approval to the much- awaited ethanol production promotion policy.
The policy has been floated by state industries department headed by minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.
“Sugarcane and maize will be the two inputs for ethanol production. While Bihar is rich in sugarcane cultivation, the state also has abundance of maize production. In fact, the production of maize is so much in Bihar that at times, the farmers struggle to get competitive prices,” an official said.
According to sources, several districts in Kosi and Seemanchal areas, including Kishanganj, Araria, Katihar, Khagaria, Bhagalpur and Samastipur among others, contribute around 30% of total yield of maize in the country.
Both Nitish and Shahnawaz have held several review meetings on the policy over the past few weeks and hailed ethanol production in the state.
They have claimed that it will lure industries and investors, leading to employment generation as well as betterment of farmers involved in sugarcane and maize cultivation.
The state government has also been emphasising on production of fuel-grade ethanol as it would ensure 100% use of the ethanol for its mixing with petrol.
Government of India has been promoting Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme (blending of ethanol with motor sprit with a view to reducing pollution), wherein oil marketing companies sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10%.