Haldia (HLZ): Inaugurating the bio-diesel dispensing unit at Haldia Dock Complex on Wednesday, Union minister of road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari said that the government is working on the standards for bio-diesel usage. “In a couple of months, new standards will be in place,” he said.
With this plant, Haldia Port becomes the first green port in the country which will use bio-diesel to run its railway engines, trucks and other vehicles. The minister later visited Emami Agrotech Plant at Haldia, the oldest and biggest bio-diesel plant in eastern India. Emami Agrotech, with its production capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of bio-diesel, will supply the requisite bio-diesel to the port.
But the minister spoke of a much bigger picture. “By the current standard, B20 (20% bio-fuel mixed with 80% normal diesel) can be used in every vehicle. But we have run vehicles on B100. The result is very encouraging. We have asked Automobile Research Association of India (ARAI) for similar tests. Even their test results are encouraging. Bureau of Indian Standard (BSI) is also working on it. The state transport undertakings (STUs) are the first to run their fleet on bio-diesel. Even the agriculture sector will greatly benefit if farmers start using biodiesel at Rs 8-10 less than the price of diesel.”
In response, Aditya Agarwal, director of Emami Group, said, “With the support from the Union government for bio-diesel, we are planning to up our ante with advanced resources and development to maximize the manufacturing.”
“In fact B50, B80 or even B100 worked wonders for tractors. They not only made agriculture cost-efficient, but made engines more robust, with least pollution. Fossil-fuel fumes are leaving the nation diseased. Moreover, the job potential is huge. I am also for exploring other innovative ways. Nagpur Municipality earns Rs 18 crore from sewage water as methane can be extracted from it. This is bio-CNG. Nearly 100 buses are already running on bio-CNG in Nagpur. Why cannot other municipalities follow it? It is simplest way of turning your waste into wealth,” he said.
On Wednesday, the shipping ministry also paved the way for a multi-modal inland waterway terminal by transferring 61 acres under Haldia Port to Inland Waterway Authority of India (IWAI). This was for a World Bank-funded terminal that will integrate rail, road and waterway for passengers as well as cargo.
“We are bringing the focus back to our huge network of rivers. The transportation cost will come down by one-third and will boost the country’s economy. In the next parliamentary session, we will include 101 rivers within the inland water transport circuit,” Gadkari added.
The Ganga, which is the national waterway – I, holds great promise for Bengal. Besides manufacturing of barges, there will be myriad maritime activities, which will bring investment as well as jobs. The minister said that the government will ensure assured draft dredging, which will guarantee a draft of 3m all along Haldia to Allahabad, allowing larger barge to move.