Union Road Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurated National Highway projects totalling a length of 527 km, worth Rs 4,075 crore at Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. Gadkari said, water, electricity, transportation and communication are important aspects for development of the country.
In order to eradicate poverty, hunger and unemployment in the country as well as for the welfare of the villagers, poor, labourers and farmers, more employment should be created in these sectors. Speaking on the occasion, Gadkari 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,” said 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.
The Minister also stated that the Centre is ready to set up logistics parks, industrial clusters and transport towns wherever land is provided by the state government. He said, development has taken place in Western Maharashtra due to sugar industry and milk production.
The 527 Km road developmemt projects in Ahmednagar district will be implemented through the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, National Highways Authority of India and Public Works Department, Government of Maharashtra. These projects include: 1) Four-laning of Ahmednagar-Karmala-Tembhurni section of NH-516A at an expense of Rs 2,013 crore, Upgradation of Savali Bihar to Ahmednagar Bypass Section of NH-160 at a cost of Rs. 496 crore, Strengthening of Ahmednagar and Bhingar city portion of NH-61 (old NH-222) at a cost of Rs 35 crore, Upgradation of Adhalgaon to Jamkhed section of NH 548D at a cost of Rs. 400 crore and fourteen projects under Central Road Infrastructure Fund worth Rs 85 crore.
The digitaries present on the occasion included Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) Shri Sharad Pawar, MP (Shirdi Lok Sabha Constituency) Shri Sadashiv Lokhande, MP (Ahmednagar Lok Sabha Constituency) Dr. Sujay Vikhe Patil and Rural Development and Labour Minister in the Govt. of Maharashtra and Ahmednagar’s Guardian Minister Shri Hasan Mushrif among others.