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Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday urged construction equipment industry to switch over to greener fuel quickly or else a flood of new-age startups could sweep over their businesses with a new line of products that are not only green but more efficient.

Speaking at the annual session of Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (ICEMA), an apex body for the construction equipment industry in India, the minister said that the green revolution in the country should not just be focused on the increased use of electric vehicles but the entire spectrum of equipment industry should also turn to greener and cleaner fuel.

He said that the government is willing to support the Indian construction equipment sector to develop an organisation similar to ARAI that exists in the automobile sector for research and development (R&D) activities for the development of futuristic technologies.

Gadkari said that various green fuel options were emerging such as bio CNG, bio LNG, 100% ethanol use as fuel for vehicles running on flex engines. The minister also said that the technology has brought calorific value of ethanol at par with petrol allowing for large scale use of this as fuel.

The switchover for construction equipment industry to greener fuel becomes important due to its sheer size. The industry size is 50,000 crore and the total volume of industrial equipment is 90,000 units while the domestic sale is 80,000 units. The export by the industry is 6000 crore and the export volume is 7800 units.

Gadkari said that construction equipment exports is growing at 60% year-on-year and the use of newer and cleaner technologies would increase this volume.

Speaking about the road construction activities in the country, Gadkari said that when he took charge of the ministry, the national highway length stood at 96,000 km which had now risen to over 1,47,000 km. He said that the priority of the ministry now is to complete port connectivity projects that would help roads, which handle about 69 per cent of goods traffic.

Gadkari said that regional approach should be considered while developing green fuel strategy for different sectors. He said the construction equipment industry should look at using methanol as fuel instead of diesel in the northwestern regions where conversion of coal to methanol is happening. Similarly, he said that the use of ethanol as fuel should be considered elsewhere taking advantage of the flex engines that are available to run a variety of vehicles and equipment.

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