Growth and Development:
In ancient times only gur and khandsari were made. The modern sugar industry was set up during the colonial period by the Dutch businessmen in north Bihar in 1840, but it was a failure. The first successful attempt to develop sugar industry was made by the British in 1903 in northeastern Uttar Pradesh and the adjoining areas of Bihar. The demand for indigo was drastically reduced due to the introduction of synthetic blue in the market. This led to the cultivation of sugar cane by the indigo planters.
Initially the growth was very slow, but the progress after 1931 was significant. This was due to the imposition of duty on the import of sugar. The sugar industry passed through many ups and downs during and after the Second World War. After independence, sugar industry made rapid progress. During the last fifty years, there have been fluctuations in the production of sugar, mainly due to the decline in sugar cane-producing area and the low price of sugar cane.
Location of Sugar Industry:
Sugar cane is the main raw material for the sugar industry.
It is a heavy, weight-losing and perishable commodity. Sugar cane cannot be stored for a long time after harvest, as it may lead to decline in the sucrose content. Thus, sugar cane must be sent to the factories immediately for crushing. Sugar cane cannot be transported over long distances, either by rail or road transport. Most of the Sugar cane is transported either by bullock-carts or tractor trollies. Normally about 8 to 10 tons of sugar cane are needed to produce about 1 ton of sugar.
Thus, the sugar mills are located in the sugar cane producing areas. The government delicensed the sugar industry in August 1998 and directed that the new sugar mills would be built at sites about 15 km away from the existing mills. The area under sugar cane cultivation is limited due to the pressure of food crops. Thus, the sugar factories are highly dispersed even in areas which have large percentage of land under sugar cane cultivation. In India, about half of the sugar cane produced is utilized for making gur and khandsari. Only about 40 per cent of the entire cane produced in our country is crushed for the production of white crystal sugar.