Chhattisgarh should be allowed to make ethanol from paddy: Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel
Raipur. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel virtually attended the meeting of Chief Ministers of all the states of the country organised under the chairmanship of Union Finance Minister Dr Nirmala Sitharaman from his residence office. He discussed many financial matters with the Union Finance Minister. The Chief Minister said the state of Chhattisgarh had completed the target of 35 % capital expenditure set by the Central Government in the first and second quarters. He said that Chhattisgarh state is known as the rice bowl, where paddy is abundant. In the last few years, the state government has requested permission for bio-ethanol production from paddy. He said that if the Central Government allows, the state can use the surplus paddy to make ethanol. The Chief Minister said that this would benefit the state and farmers and save foreign exchange spent by the Government of India on the import of petroleum products.
Chief Minister told the Union Finance Minister that the state government had made preparations to make ethanol from paddy. The government had signed MoUs with 12 companies for setting up ethanol plants from paddy. He also informed that the state got approval to make ethanol from sugarcane and maize. He urged the Union Finance Minister for permission to manufacture ethanol from paddy. The Chief Minister said that the Food Ministry of the Government of India had given consent to take 61.65 lakh metric tonnes of rice from Chhattisgarh in the year 2021-22. He said that the Central Government decided not to take that rice from Chhattisgarh. It is not in the interest of the state, its millers and workers. He said that there are about 500 Usna mills in Chhattisgarh with a capacity of 5 lakh metric tonnes per month. This decision will close the mills. The labourers working in the mills will become unemployed. The Chief Minister stated that earlier, the Central Government took rice from the state. He also urged the Union Finance Minister to reconsider the said decision of the Central Government.
Chief Minister, in the meeting, drew the attention of the Union Finance Minister towards the coal penalty amounting to Rs.4140 crore for the share of Chhattisgarh State deposited in the Central Pool and requested its return to the State of Chhattisgarh. The Chief Minister said that the Union Coal Minister had given in-principle consent regarding the refund. He also suggested reducing the cess on petrol and diesel, so that their prices could come down further. Chief Minister informed that Chhattisgarh state is incurring a loss of about Rs. 500 crore every year due to reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel.
On this occasion, the Chief Minister requested to convert the revenue deficit of the 15th Finance Commission into a grant and said that in the financial year 2021-22, 17 states received the same. This grant should be given based on revenue deficit from the year 2021-22 to 2024-25 to support the affected economy of the states after Covid-19.
Chief Secretary Amitabh Jain, Additional Chief Secretary Subrata Sahu, Principal Secretary Industries Manoj Pingua, Secretary to Chief Minister Siddharth Komal Singh Pardeshi, Finance Secretary Alarmel Mangai D, Secretary of Cooperation Department Himshikhar Gupta, Secretary of Food Department attended the meeting. T.K. Verma, Revenue Department Secretary NN Ekka, Special Secretary Energy Ankit Anand, Director Industries Anil Tuteja, MD Markfed Kiran Kaushal, Director Finance Sharda Verma and senior officers were present.