Nagpur: Launching India’s first ethanol-run bus in the city on a pilot basis, union minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari has said that a bill to make provision for running vehicles on bio-fuels and hybrid electric would be tabled in Parliament in the next session.

Gadkari also said that the country can reduce petrol, diesel and gas imports by at least 2 trillion annually by using alternative fuels. During the launch on Friday, the union minister for road transport, highways and shipping said the Centre would provide 200-500 ethanol-run buses to the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) under the “Green Bus" project.

“The country imports petrol, diesel and gas worth over 6 trillion every year. India can reduce these imports by at least 2 trillion by using alternative fuels. The ethanol-run bus project is the first initiative in this direction. Four states—Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu—will be the major beneficiaries of the project as they produce ethanol in large quantities," Gadkari said.

“Such renewable fuels can boost our economy and improve the farmers’ condition who are committing suicide. Other such alternative sources like hybrid electric can boost automobile and other sectors. Indian companies are launching hybrid electric-run buses in other countries. Ashok Leyland has launched buses in London. Therefore, my ministry is bringing a policy to exempt electric-run vehicles from tax," the minister added.

Executives from Swedish bus maker Scania, led by its India managing director Anders Grundstromer, was present at the ceremony, where Grundstromer handed over a symbolic key to city mayor Anil Sole. Rajya Sabha MP (member of Parliament) Ajay Sancheti and former MP Datta Meghe along were also present at the ceremony. Joint secretary of the ministry of road transport and highways, Sanjay Bandopadhyaya said test-run of ethanol-run bus would be undertaken for a year and teams from Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), NMC and the ministry will maintain data.