Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday made a case for making it mandatory to use electric vehicles for all officials in government ministries and department. He also suggested that the government should give subsidy to buy electric cooking appliances instead of giving support for buying cooking gas to households. Addressing at the launch Go Electric campaign, Gadkari said, "Why don't we provide subsidy on electric cooking appliances. We already provide subsidy on cooking gas. " He was of the view that electricity cooking is clean and will also reduce import dependence for gas. Gadkari suggested that use of electric vehicles should be made mandatory for all government officials. He, further, urged Power Minister R K Singh to make is mandatory to use electric vehicles for officials in his department saying he will do so for his departments. He said that use of 10,000 electric vehicles in Delhi can alone save Rs 30 crore per month. On this occasion, Singh also announced that a fuelcell bus service will be launched from Delhi to Agra and Delhi to Jaipur soon.
Recently at the inauguration of a leather cluster at the Central Leather Research Institute in Chennai, Gadkari had said that the Road Transport Ministry has taken the initiative to explore alternative fuels like lithium ion batteries and hydrogen cells for electric vehicles in the wake of increasing fuel prices.
"My suggestion is that this is the time for the country to go in for alternative fuels. I am already propagating electricity as a fuel since India is surplus in electricity and now 81 per cent of lithium-ion batteries are made in India," he said.
The ministry was also engaged in developing hydrogen fuel cells, he said. "We are working more on alternatives for fossil fuel (since it) is the most important thing for the country.
Presently, we import Rs 8 lakh crore of fossil fuel. The problem is that in the world market, the price of fossil fuel has increased and 70 per cent of the fossil fuel is imported in India", he said.
Gadkari said he recently launched a bio-CNG run tractor and noted that this fuel can be made from cotton straw, rice straw and bagasse. "We need to expedite the alternate fuel industry and Tamil Nadu is an important state in agriculture.
I request the State government to encourage making of fuel from agricultural fields and give opportunity to farmers to get more revenue from that", he said. Gadkari replied in the negative when asked whether there would be a further extension of the deadline to allow people to fix FASTtag on their vehicles.
"No extension" he said. The mandatory use of pasting FASTag in automobiles passing through toll plazas on highways came into force from Tuesday, FASTag is a prepaid tag that enables automatic deduction of toll charges and allows vehicles to pass through toll plazas without stopping for cash transactions.
The Centre had announced that February 15 would be the last day for fixing of FASTag on the vehicles to pay at toll plazas, instead of making cashing payments. On the proposed Bengaluru-Chennai highway, he said the process of land acquisition for it had already been completed and hoped it would be an 'economic corridor' between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
"Within a month we will make the foundation (stone laying) ceremony. We will request the Prime Minister (to take part) and also discuss with the Chief Minister to fix the date (for the ceremony)", he said.