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Union Road Transport and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari, on Saturday (2 October), inaugurated National Highway project works totalling a length of 527 km, worth Rs 4,075 crore at Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra.
Bhumipoojan and the dedication of these projects to the nation were held in a programme organized at Kedgaon in Ahmednagar by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
The 527 Km road development projects in Ahmednagar district will be implemented through the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, National Highways Authority of India and Public Works Department, Government of Maharashtra.
These projects include Four-laning of Ahmednagar-Karmala-Tembhurni section of NH-516A at the expense of Rs 2,013 crore, Upgradation of Savali Bihar to Ahmednagar Bypass Section of NH-160 at the cost of Rs. 496 crore, Strengthening of Ahmednagar and Bhingar city portion of NH-61 (old NH-222) at Rs 35 crore, Upgradation of Adhalgaon to Jamkhed section of NH 548D at the cost of Rs. 400 crore and fourteen projects under Central Road Infrastructure Fund worth Rs 85 crore.
Stressing the importance of converting sugar into ethanol, Minister Gadkari said there is a need to run vehicles on electricity and ethanol on the lines of Brazil.
"Our country produced 4.65 billion litres of ethanol last year and we need 16.5 billion litres of ethanol. So the Central Government will take up as much ethanol as is produced. Ethanol is a better and cheaper green fuel than petrol. All vehicles in the country should run on 100 per cent ethanol," he said.
He added that the country needs 240 lakh tonnes of sugar, while 310 lakh tonnes of sugar was produced last year. This additional sugar of 70 lakh tonnes should be converted into ethanol, said the Minister.
He also said that the Government of India is ready to enter into an Ethanol Purchase Agreement for five years as the power purchase agreement.
"If ethanol production is increased in the near future, imports will come down and farmers will earn Rs five lakh crore out of Rs 12 lakh crore being spent for import of crude oil. Sugarcane will fetch good prices and farmers will no longer remain poor," he said.
He noted that the Central Government had permitted ethanol production not just from sugarcane but also from rice, maize and other grains.