New Delhi, Jul 19
India has put up a united fight against COVID-19 and the economy is firmly on the path to recovery, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.
Addressing a virtual event organised by industry body CII, Gadkari also exhorted corporates to vaccinate their employees, saying it is their social responsibility. "Under the leadership of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we have been strong, resilient and have fought together to combat the COVID pandemic. "I am very hopeful that the worst is behind us and as you would have observed from several economic indicators and reports that we are firmly on the path of economic recovery," he said.
The road transport and highways minister further said the government's aim is to reduce the import expenses on diesel and prevent hazardous air pollution. "The cost of diesel is almost Rs 100 per litre today, which is burden on contractors and developers," he said. The minister pointed out that in India, the road sector accounts for about 45 per cent of construction equipment demand.
He noted that the government is very much open, flexible and supportive for the construction equipment industry to work together upon the prescribed roadmap with a specific focus on alternative fuels. Gadkari also pointed out that India is power surplus nation and solar generated electricity can further ensure zero carbon emissions and huge savings in construction activities.
"We can generate 81 per cent value of lithium-ion batteries for electrical vehicles in India. "Further, I am pursuing research for its substitute such as Aluminum-ion, Zinc-ion, Sodium-ion batteries. BharatBenz has already launched electric trucks in India," he said. Gadkari also said LNG as a fuel is economically viable for long-haul trucks and buses. "The economics is so good that the cost of conversion is Rs 10 Lakh, which can be recovered in 295 days, with average of 5 km per hour," he said.
Gadkari urged manufacturers to innovate and design construction equipment vehicles which can run on LNG. "This is the fuel for future...We can also convert LNG by compressing it into CNG, which is suitable and economically viable for a driving range of 200 to 250 kms, while LNG is good for 1,000 km driving range," he said.
Gadkari said the government is investing USD 1.4 trillion, that is Rs 111 lakh crore, on world-class infrastructure development through the National Infrastructure Pipeline. "We have set a target to build roads worth Rs 15 lakh crore over 2 years," he said. PTI
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