Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari at a National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) public meeting threw light on the importance of converting sugar into ethanol.
He said that ethanol production could save the country’s fuel. There is a need to run vehicles on electricity and ethanol on the lines of Brazil, he stated.
“Our country produced 4.65 billion litres of ethanol last year and we need 16.5 billion litres of ethanol. So the Central Government will take up as much ethanol as is produced,” he said. “Ethanol is a better and cheaper green fuel than petrol. All vehicles in the country should run on 100% ethanol,” stated Gadkari.
“We are importing crude oil and natural gas worth Rs 12 lakh crores in our country. The Government of India has allowed ethanol pumps. So, all sugar mills should start ethanol pumps in their area”, added the Minister.
He added that the country needs 240 lakh tonnes of sugar, while last year 310 lakh tonnes of sugar was produced. This additional sugar of 70 lakh tonnes should be converted into ethanol, said the Minister. He also said that the Government of India is ready to enter into an Ethanol Purchase Agreement for five years, like the power purchase agreement.
“If ethanol is produced in the near future, imports will come down and farmers will earn Rs 5 lakh crore out of Rs 12 lakh crore being spent for import of crude oil. Sugarcane will fetch good prices and farmers will no longer remain poor,” he said.
The Central Government has given permission to produce ethanol not only from sugarcane but also from rice, maize and other grains, informed the Minister.