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Gadkari’s vision next: Ethanol-fuelled drones

Nagpur: Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, who is a strong advocate of ethanol as one of the alternative to petroleum, is now mooting even flying drones with the bio-fuel. Manas Group, a company run by one of his sons, is also into making ethanol as a byproduct of the sugar plant.
Gadkari, while addressing a training programme for fruit growers organized in the city, said that he has suggested a scheme to the state’s agriculture minister Dadaji Bhuse for providing two drones each in a village, which can be used for spraying in the fields.
The city MP said that the drones can cost anywhere between Rs1.5 to Rs2 lakh if they are run on ethanol and “it can be done easily”.
He had recently been to Rahuri in Western Maharashtra. “There I saw drone flying over fields. Normally, a drone costs Rs8 lakh but these were for Rs4 lakh because they were running on a lithium battery. I suggested that run them on a petrol engine designed for the drone and use ethanol instead,” said the minister.
The minister said he would be launching an electric tractor in the next 15 days. He has also asked Toyota to make a car which runs on green hydrogen. “Some people don’t believe in new things and ridiculed my ideas. However, I have made things happen,” he said.
Gadkari said he has also found shorter route to Bangladesh through which the cargo generated from the country can go to the eastern neighbour through a riparian area. “This was possible after dredging of Brahmaputra on the Bangladeshi side. The goods can now straightaway reach Pangoan river port in Bangladesh. The dredging was undertaken when I had the shipping ministry,” he said.
“The request came from the Bangladeshi side and was given a go-ahead by late Sushma Swaraj who was the minister of external affairs then,” said the minister and added, “It will be half the cost as compared to that involved in shipping goods through sea route. A congestion on the regular route is also delaying the consignments.”
There are plans to push export of Nagpur oranges to Bangladesh. “The country imposes high taxes on oranges. I had taken up the matter with the home minister who has agreed to look into it,” said the minister.
Recently, Gadkari said, he also facilitated exports of consignments of Nagpur Orange Growers Association (NOGA) which is going through a lean phase.
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