New Delhi: Union Minister for Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Monday said that our new technology can run vehicles on ethanol made by farmers and tribals. Addressing a public gathering in Durg, he said, ” Our Petroleum Ministry is setting up 5 ethanol-making plants in the country. Ethanol will be produced from wood products and segregated municipal waste. Diesel will be available at Rs 50 per litre and petrol alternative at Rs 55 per litre.”

He further said, “We import petrol/diesel worth Rs.8 lakh cr, petrol price is increasing, Rs value is falling vs dollar. I’ve been saying since 15 yrs that farmers and tribals can make biofuel and fly aircraft. Our new technology can run vehicles on ethanol made by farmers and tribals.” Union Minister was in Durg city of Chhattisgarh to launch construction works worth Rs 4,251 crore. Gadkari further said.

Meanwhile, PTI also quoted a government official saying that the government has no plans to reduce taxes on petrol and diesel in near future as neither the Centre nor some states can afford to suffer revenue loss from such a move.

The official said that if the central government cuts excise duty on petrol and diesel, it will impact the fiscal deficit. On the other hand, states like Bihar, Kerala, and Punjab are not in a position to cut sales tax (or VAT).

The government, he said, anticipates that international oil prices, which together with a drop in the value of rupee, has been fuelling the fuel price rise to record levels, will moderate in coming days to take pressure off.

Fuel rates have been on fire since mid-August, rising almost every day due to a drop in rupee value and rise in crude oil rates. Petrol price has risen by Rs 3.65 a litre and diesel by Rs 4.06 per litre – the biggest increase in rates witnessed in any month since the launch of daily price revision in mid-June last year.

Earlier in the day, a ‘Bharat Bandh’ was called by a united opposition, led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, against the spiraling fuel prices.

Led by the Congress, the bandh was supported by as many as 21 opposition parties, including Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), DMK, Trinamool Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS).