The Cabinet is likely to deliberate on the the final price of ethanol for blending it with petrol within this month, Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah said here on Monday.

Talking to journalists on the sidelines of an international sugar conference here, Dr. Abdullah noted that the government had fixed a provisional price of Rs. 27 a litre. This was the rate at which oil marketing firms procured ethanol from sugar mills to implement the mandatory 5 per cent ethanol blending with petrol. “We will shortly take a call on ethanol price and take the proposal for Cabinet approval this month itself,'' he said.

The government took the 5 per cent blending decision in October, 2007. The time had come for the authorities concerned to move towards 10 per cent blending from next year.

In 2011-12 (October-September period), sugar mills had contracted to supply 600 million litres of ethanol to petrol firms at an ad-hoc price of Rs. 27 a litre, according to industry data. Last year, sugar mills contracted 540 million litres but were able to supply only 300 million litres.

Planning Commission member Soumitra Chaudhari had suggested linking of ethanol price with international price of petrol, with a discount of 20 per cent.

On the other hand, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said: “I hope the ethanol price issue, which is pending for long, will be resolved soon.'' The sugar industry was fully capable of meeting the demand of potable alcohol and 10 per cent ethanol blending programme. The sugar industry produced 26 million tonnes of sugar, 3.5 billion litres of alcohol and 2,300 MW power.

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