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Alternate fuels an urgent need, says Nitin Gadkari

Alternate fuels an urgent need, says Nitin Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari
NEW DELHI, Sep 5 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 9/5/2018 12:01:30 PM IST

The government is not against petrol and diesel but the emphasis is to increase the share of alternate fuels such as ethanol and methanol, which cost lower and are environment friendly, Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said. 

According to The Economic Times, the tone of the comment is in stark contrast to his warning to automakers last year to switch to alternative fuel or else get “bulldozed”. 

Gadkari had earlier sent out a cautionary note on compulsorily moving to electric vehicles by 2030, saying whether the automakers like it or not, the government has taken its decision and has a crystal clear policy to reduce imports (of crude oil) and curb pollution.  Speaking at the Auto Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) annual conference, Gadkari said the petroleum ministry will soon come out with a policy to increase usage of methanol as the government is firm on its stance that “e-mobility comes first”. 

Seeking auto makers’ support for scaling up the use of alternate fuel, the minister said, “I am not against diesel or petrol and I am not shutting down any industry”. 

“Our import (crude oil) is very high and this is a worrying sign,” the minister said, adding that the government has lot of expectations from the automobile industry. 

Over 83% of India’s oil consumption is met through imports. The country spent $87.7 billion (about Rs 5.65 lakh crore) on import of 220.43 million tonnes (MT) of crude oil in 2017-18. For 2018-19, the imports are pegged at almost 227 MT. 

Some government officials have earlier said that India’s crude oil import bill is likely to jump by about $26 billion in 2018-19 as the rupee has fallen to record lows. 

Gadkari said the government’s clear focus is to reduce imports and increase exports, while working on various methods to reduce pollution. 

The highways ministry has also decided a pilot to run methanol-powered buses in Maharashtra and Assam. 

The minister also stressed on the usage of waterways for logistics to trim down the cost and lower pollution, which in turn will contribute to the growth of the economy. 

Stating that the cost of waterways is much lower than air and road transport, Gadkari said lower logistics cost will help beef up marketing budget and economic viability will improve as cost of shipping goods is far lower than that of roads and rail. 

On expansion of the highways network, the minister said the road length of national highways has been increased. “We are making a highway from Delhi to Mumbai, which will reduce the distance by 125 km,” he said. 

The government has saved Rs 16,000 crore for the Delhi-Mumbai highway by acquiring land in backward and tribal areas in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. 

 

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