Frequent power shutdowns affect work at sugar factory

By Times Of India on 04 Apr 2018 | read
PONDA: Frequent power shutdowns at Sanjivani Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana, Goa’s only sugar factory, have affected sugar production this year. Of the 135 days of crushing season, the factory could work only 88 days producing about 57,000 quintals (57,00,000 kgs) of sugar.
The 45th crushing season, that started on November 14, 2017, came to an end on March 28 this year. Actual production had started on December 6.

The factory at Dayanandnagar, Dharbandora, gets sugarcane from farmers in Goa, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. This year, the factory crushed over 73,000 tonnes of cane.

A proposal worth over Rs 29 crore for modernizing the factory was submitted to the Centre under the Rashtriya Krishi Yojana (National Agricultural Scheme), but was rejected as the factory is a cooperative enterprise and the scheme is available for units under the agricultural ministry.

Factory agriculture officer Sadanand Sangodkar said there were several emergency shutdowns during the season which led to major losses. During the current season, the factory was shut down for 850 hours (about 35 days) on different occasions. The factory had developed snags in its turbine, condenser and jack well. A pipeline also burst thereby halting work.

A sugar factory needs continuous water supply and an underground pipeline has been laid to fetch water from the Khandepar river basin. In mid-February, the dilapidated pipeline suffered cracks and the plant was shut for three days between February 14 and 16.

“When there are shutdowns for longer periods, cane juice gets spoiled. Though we use it to produce molasses, it is a waste as the juice could have been used to produce sugar. From extracting the juice, crushing the cane to producing the final crystalline sugar, it takes about 72 hours with the juice remaining inside the plant for 48 hours. If the plant stops during this time, the entire lot of juice goes into waste,” Sangodkar said.