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, union minister Nitin Gadkari said here on Tuesday. Also on the anvil were aluminium-ion and steel-ion batteries, he told reporters after inaugurating a leather cluster at the Central Leather Research Institute here.
“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.