`Bio-fuel would boost agriculture, create jobs, cut pollution’

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Pune: Calling bio-CNG, ethanol and methanol cost-effective, pollution-free and import substitute alternatives, Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari said the use of these alternative fuels will boost the agriculture sector and create new jobs.

“Today India’s crude oil import bill is around Rs 7 lakh crore and besides, we are facing an acute problem of pollution due to the use of crude oil.

“The condition of agriculture is serious in the country and due to unavailability of jobs in the rural sector, people are migrating to cities. Diversification of agriculture towards energy and power is the solution to all these issues,” the Road Transport and Highways Minister said here.

Gadkari was speaking at a conference on `Ethanol as a transport fuel’ at the Central Institute of Road Transport.

Diversification of agriculture towards energy and power (by encouraging crops which provide the raw material to produce alternative fuels) will create lakhs of jobs and will boost the rural economy, he said.

“An integrated approach needs to be brought as far as the use of ethanol in the country is concerned,” said Gadkari.

Promotion of alternative fuels like electric batteries, ethanol, methanol, bio-CNG will also reduce the import bill and pollution, Gadkari noted.

Farmers in states such as Haryana and Punjab burn wheat straw, which causes pollution, and its use for producing alternative fuels will curb this pollution, he said.

“If we all work collectively towards the bio-fuel, we will be able to bring the crude oil import to 50 percent (of the current level) in near future,” he said.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the government will soon bring a bio-fuel policy.

Bio-fuel will play a pivotal role in making India self-reliant, he added.

Source: The New Indian Express

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