New Delhi, Dec 13: Amid a raging debate on pollution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to gift two electric buses for MPs that will help them play their part in preventing choking of the national capital.
"If all goes as per plan, the Prime Minister will donate these two electric buses to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on December 21," Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
These lithium-ion-powered buses, running on the same battery that is used to propel satellites made by India's apex space agency ISRO, will ferry Members of Parliament, he said.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists, in collaboration with the ministry and other wings, have developed the batteries costing Rs 5 lakh -- about a tenth of the astronomical Rs 55 lakh for imported ones, he said.
This is in line with the Prime Minister's 'Make in India' drive, he said, adding that such vehicles will be commercialised and the patents have been registered.
"We plan to run 15 such buses on Delhi roads as a pilot project initially" and the same would be replicated at other places too, Gadkari said. Pollution is an issue which concerns the government deeply and the ministry is committed to addressing all such issues related to Delhi within two years, he said.
The idea is to minimise pollution in the entire country, not just Delhi, he stressed. "We plan to convert 1.5 lakh buses in the country which currently run on diesel to electric," he said, adding that manufacturing of bio-CNG will be encouraged in Nagpur.
He suggested that methane can be extracted from sewage water to produce bio-CNG which can be used for running buses.
Apart from this, farmers will be encouraged to diversify towards production of bio-fuel from sugar and other products, which in turn can reap rich dividends and contribute significantly to the economic development of the country also, he said.
Promotion of bio-fuel can also cut on huge crude import bills to the tune of Rs 8 lakh crore per annum, he said.
On Delhi government's restricting plying of cars, as per odd-even number on alternate days to minimise pollution, Gadkari said the subject fell under the concurrent list and the ministry will help the state government.