The Centre would soon initiate measures to make ethanol out of biomass that would create "tremendous demand for farm waste", Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said. A Cabinet note on making ethanol out of biomass like wheat, cotton and rice straw will be moved in the coming weeks which will allow blending of this bio-fuel into petroleum to 22.5 per cent as against 10 per cent done currently, he said here.
"The move will also create tremendous demand for farm waste. Perhaps all rice straw generated from the paddy-growing district of Bhandara, which is known as the 'rice bowl' of Vidarbha, can be used in making ethanol. At present the entire waste is being burnt away," Gadkari said.
The Union Minister was speaking last night at a seminar on Small and Medium Enterprises' (SMEs) participation in capital markets, organised by BSE and Panthomath Limited, a private advisory firm. Gadkari also said the government will spend around Rs 10,000 crore on road safety. These funds will be used for crash guards, electronic markers and cameras to be installed on the highways.
Stressing on the need for promoting research by SMEs, he said the city-based PSU Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) has come up with a method of separating sand from dumps created while digging coal. He said this will bring down the cost of sand to half, adding he has directed that bit should be used by all government agencies. Another plan for using mine water in irrigation and as potable water is being worked out by WCL.
"The irrigation department too has found a tremendous potential in water generated during mining process," the minister said. Using waterways can considerably reduce the cost of logistics. There are plans to transport petroleum from Haldia port to states like UP and Bihar through riparian route on the Ganga river, Gadkari said, adding, "It can reduce the cost of fuel by Rs 2 per litre there." In the seminar, BSE officials spoke about avenues available for SMEs to raise funds from stock markets
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