After earlier stressing on making flex-fuel engines mandatory for automobile manufacturers, Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday said now there is no need to do so as many auto giants have already started manufacturing it. He also batted for using the engine for drones to bring down their cost from Rs6 lakh to Rs1 lakh.
Speaking at the launch of Agri Vision Radio, the city MP announced a new train will start from December 22 to Bangladesh carrying products like custard apple, cotton bales, ayurvedic medicines and textile among others from various parts of Vidarbha. The areas included Washim, Akot Morshi, Katol, Narkhed and others.
The move came after the success of an earlier experiment of exporting oranges from the region to Bangladesh through the railway network during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Stressing on increasing the use of bioethanol as fuel, the minister said he would be taking help from Russian scientists to increase ethanol’s caloric value and make it at par with petrol. “Companies like Hyundai and Suzuki have started manufacturing flex engines for four-wheelers while Bajaj and TVS are making them for two-wheelers. As against Rs100/litre for petrol, ethanol can be available for Rs62.”
Emphasizing on the use of flex engines in drones, the senior cabinet minister said Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers (RCF) had come out with a new form of urea that can be spread through drones. “To make it cheaper, drones need to fly on flex engines using ethanol rather than using a lithium-ion battery. One such drone has been made by an agriculture university in Rahuri. We need to phase out petrol and diesel engines.”
Gadkari said till now material was dispatched through sea route Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) to Dhaka. “Through railway, it will be a lot easier to dispatch all goods in less time and at half the cost. Since Bangladesh is a global hub for readymade garments, cotton from Vidarbha area can be in big demand there. We can also send chillies from Bhiwapur, custard apples from Washim and bananas from Buldhana.”
The senior BJP leader said the two countries have already launched a joint venture company for exporting these products. “Our prawns can also be exported to countries like Singapore where the rate is Rs10,000 per kg as against Rs800 in Vidarbha. On my request animal husbandry minister Sunil Kedar has started working on it. Ramtek MLA Ashish Jaiswal too should reach out to fishermen.”
Sharing his dream for farmers, Gadkari said they too should stay in air-conditioned bungalows in their villages and should not commit suicides due to crop failure.