Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari, in a webinar, said that India’s public transport is going to be modernized using fuels such as biofuel, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and electricity.
The union minister informed that Nagpur has already started the process of running 450 buses on biofuel. As many as 90 buses have already been converted, he added.
Gadkari was addressing the fourth International Association of Public Transport’s India Bus Seminar. In his address, Gadkari noted that state road transport undertakings (SRTUs) are incurring huge costs due to the rising cost of conventional fuels. He added that India needs to reduce its spending on importing crude oil and hydrocarbons. According to the minister, bus services incur losses to the tune of ₹600 million (~$8.1 million) each year, which can be minimized by switching to CNG.
The minister also added that efforts are being made to produce CNG from sewage water. He called upon state transport undertakings to adopt this model to save revenue. Gadkari further said that stakeholders should also focus on adopting other sources of CNG like paddy straw, which have multiple benefits to farmers, transport, environment, and economy.
Last year, it was reported that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the review of guidelines for granting authorization to market transportation fuels. The policy was expected to ease the whole process and provide the necessary push to the companies for doing business and also open doors for the wider adoption of biofuels and other forms of alternative fuels.
In August 2019, the central government released an Expression of Interest floated by big national oil marketing companies like Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, and Hindustan Petroleum, for the procurement of biodiesel made from used cooking oil. He further stressed the fact that the government is working on a four-pronged strategy for promoting ethanol, 2-G ethanol, compressed biogas, and biodiesel.
In a country like India, where its agrarian sector fuels the overall economic growth, biofuels assume great significance in light of the country’s ambitious goals of doubling farmers’ income, import reduction, employment generation, and waste-to-wealth creation. Acknowledging the importance of abundant resources for biofuel in the country, the union cabinet approved the National Policy on Biofuels 2018.
Image credit: By A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace) – Own work, FAL
Rahul is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Before entering the world of renewables, Rahul was head of the Gujarat bureau for The Quint. He has also worked for DNA Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad Mirror. Hailing from a banking and finance background, Rahul has also worked for JP Morgan Chase and State Bank of India. More articles from Rahul Nair.