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New national policy on biofuels on cards, says minister Dharmendra Pradhan

“We can emphatically state that ethanol has the potential to substantially cut down the crude import bill of the country,” Pradhan said.

pune Updated: Nov 25, 2017 15:22 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
dharmendra pradhan,minister,bio fuel
Road and transport minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurating the 'Ethanol One Fuel' workshop organised by CIRT (Central Institute of Road Transport) at Bhosari on Friday.(HT PHOTO)

Minister of petroleum and natural gas, skill development and entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan, on Friday, said that his ministry was at the last stage of finalising the new national policy on biofuels.

Pradhan was addressing a conference of industry experts and policy makers on ‘Ethanol as a Transport Fuel’ organised by the Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT), jointly with the Indian Federation of Green Energy (IFGE), New Delhi , supported by the ministry of road transport and highways.

Pradhan said, “Our ministry is in the process of finalising the new national policy on biofuels. We had a consultative meeting of all the stakeholders at New Delhi recently and are evaluating all the feedback and suggestions given so far. The new policy will provide complete off-take guarantee to the producers.

He explained that ethanol supply for blending in petrol had increased to 111 crore litres in 2015-2016 from 15.4 crore litres in 2011. Similarly, the rate of return has been upwardly revised by more than 40 % to benefit farmers. “We can emphatically state that ethanol has the potential to substantially cut down the crude import bill of the country,” he said.

The minister was all praise for Pune city and its intellectual prowess and described it as the land of creativity, innovation and intellectuals. He noted that Pune has been the epicentre of all the research and development activities in different domains and also in the area of alternative green fuel. Most of the technologies to convert agri waste to green fuel have been developed in Pune, he added.

Pradhan stressed that the government was committed to double the income of farmers beyond the stipulated Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism and help promote the farmers to monetise their farm and agri-waste as feedstock to Ethanol Bio-refineries. He complimented the conference organisers and suggested greater co-operation and collaboration between civil society, researchers, farmers, industry and all other stakeholders to promote ethanol economy.

Pune can go Delhi way if pollution level remains unchecked, says Nitin Gadkari

Union minister for road transport and shipping Nitin Gadkari warned that Pune can go the Delhi way in the coming days if the pollution level went unchecked henceforth.

Gadkari said that tier 2 cities like Pune and Chennai are likely to go Delhi way if pollution control is not stringently imposed by the respective authorities. Gadkari was addressing a gathering of industry experts and other stakeholders during a conference under the theme ‘Ethanol as a Transport Fuel’ on Friday at the Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) organised by CIRT, jointly in association with the Indian Federation of Green Energy (IFGE), New Delhi supported by the ministry of road transport and highways.

Gadkari pointed out that there was need to curb vehicular pollution and replacing traditional fuels with alternate green fuels to conserve the environment. “One can see what is happening in Delhi and the policy of odd and even arrangements being undertaken by the Delhi government to combat smog. Taking into account the rising pollution levels in cities like Pune and Chennai, the day is not far when these cities will go the Delhi way and it is an alarming situation,” he added.

The minister also said that the agriculture sector in the country was going through severe crisis and maintained that there was a need to give a fair price to agri produce and adopt practices of sustainable agriculture for the growth and promotion of the sector. Referring to the rising disparity in urban and rural country space, Gadkari said that unemployment had peaked in rural India which resulted in large scale migration to the cities.

At some point, 80 % of the village population stayed in the village itself, while the remainder left to urban cities looking for opportunities. Now, 55% of village population stays in the village, while a major chunk has left for the cities for jobs and other avenues, he said.

“If rural economy is strengthened through an integrated approach, then we will be able to generate 50 lakh new jobs for rural India. We also need to promote bioethanol to end agriculture crisis,” he added.

The minister also stressed that the central government has embarked on a massive irrigation scheme initiative aimed at boosting agriculture production.

He said that the government has planned to bring two crore hectares under irrigation through various schemes. “The severe water crisis in different states were the main cause behind farmer suicides and irrigation schemes will be fast-tracked to provide relief to the farming community,” he said.

First Published: Nov 25, 2017 15:21 IST