Leadership

Govt will ask carmakers to make ‘flex-fuel’ engines: Gadkari

Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said he would issue an order in the next three to four months, which will make it mandatory for the carmakers to introduce flex-fuel engines in vehicles.

He said he wishes to see the country get rid of petrol and diesel consumption in his lifetime by switching to locally-produced ethanol.

The Minister for Road Transport and Highways was speaking at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of a flyover in Pune, where Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was also present.

“I am going to issue an order in the next three to four months, in which carmakers – from BMW, Mercedes to TATA and Mahindra – will be asked to make flex engines,” he said.

Gadkari said he had asked Bajaj and TVS companies to introduce flex engines in their vehicles, and also instructed them not to approach him until and unless they do so, after which they came up with an ethanol-flex engine. 

Flex-fuel, or flexible fuel, is an alternative fuel made of a combination of gasoline and methanol or ethanol.

“I have a wish. I would like to stop the petrol and diesel use in the country in my lifetime and our farmers can give the alternative to this in the form of ethanol,” he said.

‘Ordered all carmakers to make horns using sounds of musical instruments’

Gadkari added that in order to tackle the issue of noise pollution caused by honking, rules would be framed to make car horns sound like musical instruments.

“I have ordered all the carmakers to make horns using the sounds of musical instruments,” he said.

He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated three ethanol pumps in Pune.

“I would like to ask you (Ajit Pawar) to take up the work of setting up multiple ethanol pumps in Pune as well as in western Maharashtra districts as it would help farmers and the sugar industry,” he said.

Gadkari said Pune city has become very congested and there was a need for its decentralisation.

“I would like to appeal Ajit Pawar to make Pune’s air, water and sound pollution-free. I am constructing an expressway on the Pune-Bengaluru highway. I would like to ask to buy land on both sides of the road and set up a new Pune city and connect it with the Metro rail and trains. Decentralisation is needed to get rid of congestion, traffic issue, and pollution,” he added.

Referring to Pawar’s speech in which he raised the issue of landowners demanding Rs 18 crore per acre compensation against the acquisition of their land for various road-widening projects in the state, Gadkari said if we pay so much, how can the infrastructure, like stations and bus stands, be built.

“My secretary told me that this (kind of compensation) is exaggerated. He stopped all the work in Maharashtra by stating that we cannot do this with such kind of compensation. I am thankful that Pawar has promised to find a solution to this issue,” he said.

The Union minister also batted for adopting a low-cost broad gauge metro line to connect Pune with other western Maharashtra districts, and proposed to rope in private travel operators to operate them. 

Speaking at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of Katraj flyover in the city, Gadkari said a new greenfield highway between Pune and Bengaluru was being constructed this year. This would be different from the existing highway with a new route. 

“This is a Rs 40,000 crore project and this new greenfield highway will start from Pune and will go to Bengaluru from outside Belgaum via Phaltan in Satara district,” he said. 

In order to improve the connectivity between the northern and the southern states, Surat-Chennai Expressway has already been announced. Through this project, the south-bound traffic would be diverted from Surat and routed through Nashik, Ahmednagar, Solapur, Akalkot, Gulbarga, Yadgir, Kurnool. This route will also decongest the traffic passing through Mumbai and Pune, he added. 

This expressway will reduce the distance between many cities, he said, adding, the distance between Surat and Chennai will come down from about 1,600 km to 1,270 km. 

Talking about Katraj, he said this stretch has witnessed several accidents and people living in this locality were facing issues. 

“I am hopeful that through this flyover, all these issues will be addressed. Since a lot of traffic passes through this intersection, I have suggested Ajit Pawar see if we can construct a double-decker flyover here,” he added.

Talking about the Pune-Satara road, the minister admitted that this route faced several issues. 

“A lot of accidents used to take place on this road, but now the issue has been resolved. We have terminated the toll on this road. By allocating Rs 50 crore, the construction of the Pune-Satara road will be completed by December,” he said.

He also added that a study on frequent accidents on the stretch between Pune-Satara road is being conducted with the help of an organisation. 

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