The arrival and acceptance of bio-fuel powered vehicles are going to become faster than expected. According to a recent statement made by the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, the Indian Government has issued a circular to all the automakers of India to offer bio-fuel powered vehicles in the next six months.
The process of shifting to bio-fuel (particularly bioethanol) is considered as a measure to reduce dependency on petrol and combat the steep rise in its prices. Currently, petrol has touched the price point of Rs. 110 in many parts of the country, which makes it much pricier as compared to bioethanol. In comparison, a litre of bioethanol costs Rs. 65.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has always affirmed its stand to accept vehicles with flex-fuel powered engines as sooner as possible. As a part of this decision, the state-run oil marketing companies have been ordered to sell bioethanol alongside petrol and diesel at their facilities.
However, there is still no compulsion on the customers, and it will still be the consumer’s choice to choose between petrol and bioethanol. In addition to this, the production and development of electric vehicles across various segments is also at a boom right now, and there is work going on for use of hydrogen as fuel too. With all these developments, Mr Gadkari wants to make India a leading manufacturing hub for vehicles with all fuel options in the next five years.
Role of NHAI in development
Currently, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which comes under MoRTH, is optimally generating revenues for all the development processes planned by the Government of India. It has already raised Rs. 40,000 crore through monetization efforts like toll tax collections and from infrastructure investment trust (InvITs). It is steadily moving forward for achieving the target of Rs. 1.60 lakh crore from the roads sector.
The total collections from toll are expected to go up from the current Rs. 40,000 crore per year to Rs. 1.40 lakh crore per year in the next five years. For faster achievement of target, the MorTH had requested long term money managers to invest in NHAI for increased returns.
According to Mr Gadkari, regular monetization will also help in faster road-building processes, including the construction of 26 new express highways. With this, he intends to make the Indian roads as smooth and effortless to drive on as highways from the US and Europe, which in turn will reduce road accidents as well.