Plan to make methanol as fuel for maritime transport: Gadkari

Chennai, Feb 26 (PTI): The Centre today said it planned to make methanol the fuel for all maritime transport, on account of lesser costs and pollution, compared to diesel. The fuel, which costs Rs 22 per litre,can be manufactured in India, but new technology was needed for the initiative, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said. He pointed to the example of China, where methanol cost just Rs 17 per litre. "In China it is Rs 17 per litre. Rs 22 per litre of methanol (in India) is equal to one litre of diesel, which is Rs 60 today. Compared to diesel there is very less pollution (from methanol) also", the union minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping said. He was speaking after unveiling a plaque as part of the foundation laying stone ceremony for the National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts in joint collaboration with IIT Madras. "We are making a four multi-modal hub -- Varanasi, Haldia, Sagarganj, Sahibganj (across river Ganga) And at 60 river ports, we plan to use methanol as fuel", Gadkari said. Gadkari said the government has decided to convert 111 rivers into waterways with a length of 20,000 kilometres. "For that we need technical assistance. That is one of the reasons today for the formation of National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts is very very important. It can give us good technology of international standards and it can save costs", he said. The Centre, to come up at nearby Thaiyur, would be an institute for technological innovations and evolution of new ideas and breakthroughs for the port and maritime sector. Of the total Rs 70 crore investment, Rs 30 crore would be contributed by Ministry of Shipping, Rs 15.87 crore by the Indian Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Rs 19.40 crore by big ports operating in the country, IIT Madras, Department of Ocean Engineering, Prof. K Murali said "The construction activity is set to begin by June. We expect it to become fully operational by end of 2019. It is coming up on a four acre land at Thaiyyur", he said. A website with details of the Technology Centre and the projects planned was also unveiled on the occasion. PTI VIJ APR APR