The government is planning to come out with a new transport policy, that will focus on innovation and reforms in the country's public transport system and will also have provisions for financial support for such initiatives, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday. The minister also urged State Transport Corporations to switch to alternative fuels like CNG, LNG and bio-fuel like ethanol to save costs and reduce India''s dependence on crude import which amounts to a massive Rs 7 lakh crore per annum.
"Within a month, a new transport policy will be declared. We will promote new innovations and research and there will be provisions for financial support to players who want to bring new technology and innovation," Gadkari said at International Conference and Exhibition on Public Transport Innovation 2020 at Manekshaw Centre here. The Road Transport, Highways and MSME Minister said, the policy is being designed in such a fashion that it will focus on innovation and reforms and all obstacles on the way have already been removed. "All clearances will be there for those showing innovation and research," he said and called upon State Road Transport Corporations to switch to alternative fuels for change in cost dynamics and promoting pollution free transport.
"Fuel change results in cost economics change," the minister said adding diesel buses can be converted into CNG-powered buses with a cost of barely Rs 3 lakh."CNG can be used for school buses and city buses while LNG can be used for long-route buses. Conversion of diesel buses into LNG costs Rs 8 lakh," he said. He further said that "corporations should use alternative fuel instead of diesel. Using LNG will result in savings to the tune of 60 per cent. The life of diesel buses is 9 years and CNG buses is 15 years. Public transport buses in India need to be developed on the pattern of European countries."
He also urged them to come out with electric buses to reduce cost saying that manufactures were working fast in this direction. "I have not been able to deliver much in public transport space. The condition of the state transport corporations is not good and is specially in a very bad shape in rural areas. ... Fresh capital is needed here. Foreign agency funds among others should be sought. ...There is need for correction," the Minister said. He also called upon auto-makers to be "quality centric and not cost centric" saying this was one of the reasons people were going for imported buses and cars and added that people are ready to shell out more for quality services.
The minister said that 22 green express highways are on the anvil including Rs one lakh crore Delhi-Mumbai express highway which will be completed in three years time. He said work on seven out of 22 projects have already started and added that a stretch of it will be developed as the country''s first electric highway on pilot basis. "We are acquiring land on the sides of all new express highways. About 2,000 petrol pumps and gas stations will come up on these and revenue generated will come into the kitty of National Highways Authority of India. We will have Rs 2,000 crore income from these," he said.
Asserting that there is no dearth of funds, the minister said that post FASTag system on national highways for electronic toll collection, the revenue per day has swelled to Rs 87 crore, from Rs 68 crore. Once the system is implemented totally, NHAI expects Rs 100 crore toll income per day and annual income will swell to Rs 10,000 crore, he said and added that NHAI''s annual income from various sources was estimated at Rs 40,000 crore this year which will swell to Rs 1 Lakh crore in coming years. The minister said that his Ministries in the previous tenure had seen award of work worth Rs 17 lakh crore and this tenure will see award of Rs 15 lakh crore in the highways sector.