The government is encouraging adoption of electric vehicles and use of alternative fuels like ethanol, bio-LNG, green hydrogen, but it will not stop registration of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.
Addressing virtually an event organised by industry body Indian Chamber of Commerce(ICC), Gadkari further said he is also trying to encourage use of 50 per cent ethanol in aviation fuel. “We are encouraging (adoption of) electric vehicles (EVs), and (use) of alternative fuels like ethanol, bio-LNG, green hydrogen…(But) we are not going to stop anything (ICE vehicles),” he said. The road transport and highways minister noted that the sale of EVs has increased as people are giving good response. “I feel that we don’t need to make anything (ICE vehicles)mandatory,” Gadkari added.
He pointed out that 250 startups are working on e-vehicles and this will reduce the cost of EVs. Noting that green hydrogen is the future, he said, “I am going to buy a car next month, which will run on hydrogen.” Observing that India is becoming the largest EV market for electric two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and cars,” he said, “In the next 5 years, it is planned to develop wayside amenities at 600 locations, all of which will have the necessary EV charging infrastructure.”
Gadkari also said that reducing logistics costs to below 10 per cent of GDP is at the top of the agenda, so the government is developing integrated inland waterways, air connectivity, and road network at large. “We all must be aligned with the commitment made by our Hon’ble Prime Minister, recently at the COP-26 summit to achieve the target of net-zero emissions or a carbon-neutral country by the year 2070,” he said.
The minister pointed out that Infrastructure development will play an important role in fulfilling the vision of India in becoming a 5 trillion dollar economy in the next 5 years. He pointed out that the government has given a massive push to the economy by allocating about Rs 111 lakh crore through the National Infrastructure Pipeline, to be invested until 2025 where Rs 20 lakh crore is allocated for the road infrastructure sector.
According to Gadkari, the Gati Shakti Master Plan will provide the framework for the NIP programme and is aimed at making Indian products more competitive by cutting down the logistics costs and improving the supply chains. He said that his ministry is constructing 65,000 km of national highways under the Bharatmala Phase 1 and 2. “We have a plan to develop around 35,000 km of highways under Bharatmala Phase-1 with an overall capital expenditure of over Rs 10 lakh crore. 20,000 km of this is already under construction,” he said.