Transport Minister Gadkari calls for use of alternative fuels

Chennai: Union Minister for Transport Nitin Gadkari has called for the need of accepting alternate fuels and stressed the importance of reducing dependency on fossil fuel.

The Minister stated that the country must move towards alternative fuels like methanol, ethanol and start to adopt electric mobility and said it will reduce fossil fuel bills.

Gadkari was speaking at a symposium on “Empowering Mobility – The Safe and Intelligent Way”, organised by Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).

“Our crude oil import bill is of Rs 7 lakh crore and this cost is creating big economic problems for the country and at the same time, the use of fossil fuels is creating pollution. As there is a lot of agriculture raw material waste, there is a need to convert it into energy through waste and move towards alternative fuels like methanol, ethanol, bio-fuels and electric,” he said.

He added that the Prime Minister has already declared that by 2022, we will have to reduce the import bill of crude oil by 10 per cent.

Rural focus

Gadkari said his priority is on agriculture as neglect of which has led to problems. “We are facing all the urban problems because we have neglected the rural agriculture,” he said.

“If bio mass projects are set up in the rural areas, it will create a lot of employment and people will not have to move towards the cities,” he said. He added that since all these raw material needed to make the bio-fuels are available in the rural areas, the social economic scenario will also change.

Public mobility

Turning his focus towards public transport that is facing losses, barring some States, the Union Minister said, ‘We need to convert the public transport on to electric or to ethanol.’

Gadkari said the government will soon provide 40 buses that run on methanol for use in public transport in cities like Guwahati, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune (10 each).

Considering that biofeuls can now be used in the aviation sector, the Minister said he plans to develop Gadchiroli district in the Vidarbha region as a hub for production of biofeuls since this district has required natural resources for the same.

Prashanth Guru Srinivas, a member of core committee on methanol in the Niti Aayog, said successful application of methanol in automotive fuel will lead to 20 per cent reduction in import of crude oil by 2030.

Showing the way
In December last year, the Indian Air Force (IAF) announced that it is going the biofuel way and ran Antonov AN-32 aircraft using blended biofuel. It was stated that the total import substitution based on IAF consumption of biofuels alone could reach Rs 25,000 crore by 2024.

The move came after Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa committed to fly a biofuel aircraft over New Delhi on Republic Day this year. It was also the first time that a Russian aircraft flew with a biofuel blend.

NT Bureau