Petrochemical industry is backbone of economy: Gadkari

Emphasises need for alternative sources of energy

October 05, 2018 01:02 am | Updated 01:02 am IST - Mumbai

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said the contribution of the chemical and petrochemical industry was a remarkable part of country’s growth and the backbone of the Indian economy.

Mr. Gadkari was addressing the India Chem 2018 - 10th Biennial International Exhibition and Conference at Bombay Exhibition Centre in Goregaon (East). The Minister said, “If we have communication, coordination and co-operation between the industry and the government, we can truly achieve the growth we aspire for.”

On the economy, the Minister said, “India is the fastest growing economy. All investors have a huge advantage from investments in India. At present, our imports have increased and exports decreased and we are facing a crisis.”

Listing the strengths of India in the economic sector, he said, “ As far as the strengths of India is concerned, we have got huge raw materials, minerals and most importantly skilled manpower at reasonable rates. I feel as far as the research and development is concerned, India is ahead. Particularly in petrochemicals, India has a huge potential. A huge market is available, but the basic need is import substitute.”

Talking about the chemical and petrochemical industry, he emphasised the need for alternative sources of energy, “I don’t have much knowledge of chemicals and petrochemicals but since the last few years we have been working on alternative fuel. The government has decided to increase the production of ethanol. At present, we are making ethanol from molasses, which we get from sugar from where we process ethanol. But no government has taken a decision to increase the production of ethanol from molasses from 4% to 6%.”

The Minister requested the industry to use agricultural products to make chemicals. He said, “It can be a great game-changer for the country. We have already added ethanol to petrol up to 5% but we can add up to 22%.” Mr. Gadkari said in Nagpur, 35 air-conditioned buses were already running on 100% bioethanol. “Ethanol is the future. In Brazil, they are making bioplastic from ethanol, which is degradable. From ecological as well as an aesthetic point of view this is very important.”

Mr. Gadkari opined that this is the time for the country to find an import substitute. He said, “My department has taken a decision to start a pilot project in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, and Guwahati to run the buses on methanol. What is the need to use petrol and diesel when petrol is ₹85 and diesel is ₹65 when ethanol priced at ₹49 can be used instead? It is time for the country to shift to ethanol, methanol, biofuel, and CNG.”

On the Indian Institute of Petroleum in Dehradun having successfully experimented on a SpiceJet flight from Dehradun to Delhi with 25% bio-aviation fuel recently, the Minister said, “If it is confirmed that an aircraft can be run on 100% bio-fuel then what is the need to import ₹35,000 crore worth of aviation fuel. Aviation fuel is ₹75 per litre whereas biofuel is ₹53 rupees per litre.”

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