LUCKNOW: Sugar prices are falling in UP but sugar levels in diabetics are rising.
The decrease in sugar prices is a result of a dramatic fall in demand for sugar during the lockdown while the increase in blood sugar levels is due to stress because of the lockdown.
According to the figures compiled by the UP-Sugar Mills Association (UPSMA), there has been a 11 per cent fall in the demand for sugar.
The dip in sugar demand is mainly due to the closure of hotels, sweet shops and restaurants due to the lockdown.
The UPSMA data shows that this has severely hampered the paying capacity of sugar mill owners, and cane arrears have crossed Rs 14,000 crore, which is 55.5 per cent of the total dues.
UPSMA president C B Patodia said the mills were finding it difficult to follow cane payment cycle and sought a bailout package by way of cash subsidy to augment cash flow of sugar mills.
Meanwhile, principal secretary, sugar development, Sanjay Bhoosreddy said liquidity of sugar mills has been severely affected due to lockdown.
"Sale of sugar was expected to pick up after Holi when there is high demand of sugar for manufacture of beverages and ice-creams. But due to coronavirus pandemic, sale has been affected," he said.
The situation has been further aggravated by the fall in demand for ethanol which is mixed with petrol for fuel consumption.
Data show that as against the required quantity of over 61 kilo-litre per day, the consumption of ethanol produced by sugar distilleries went down to merely 13 kilolitres per day. This was only 21 per cent of the total contracted supply.
Out of 119 mills operating this year, 44 have ended crushing while 75 mills continue operations this year, as compared to 68 which were operating as on April 30 last year.
"About 75 per cent factories have closed in east UP and the remaining are expected to close by next week," the UPSMA official said.
On the other hand, medical experts said that the blood sugar levels among diabetics has gone up marginally according to the recently released India Diabetes Care index report.
The assessment was based on Hb1AC measure of patients enrolled in different cities of India, including Lucknow.
The report shows that the average Hb1AC levels among Lucknowites went up from 8.21 to 8.28 per cent.
HbA1c test indicates the average blood glucose level over three months and is considered as one of the best indicators of long-term blood glucose control.
The rise in HbA1C level comes at a time when medical studies are pointing towards an increased risk for severe complications arising from COVID-19 in people living with diabetes.
The report said, "Older adults and people with pre-existing medical conditions like hypertension, heart disease, pulmonary disorders and obesity related conditions are also at a higher risk of experiencing serious complications due to COVID-19."
Dr Sharad Kumar, senior consulting endocrinologist, said that diabetes has emerged as a risk factor among COVID-19 patients.
He said that the prevailing stress condition were inducing higher sugar levels among diabetics.
Dr Vikasendu Agarwal, state surveillance officer, UP, said, "The pandemic virus does not kill. It aggravates pre-existing medical conditions which often turns fatal."