Plea to PM not to yield to petrol lobby

Bangalore: BJP President Nitin Gadkari on Monday said he will appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to yield to the petroleum lobby and encourage production of bio-diesel through effective implementation of bio-fuel policy.

"I will ensure that party MPs raise the issue in Parliament and will also meet the Prime Minister and request him to accelerate the implementation of bio-fuel policy", he said at a two-day national conference on `effective implementation of bio fuels programme` which began here.

He said implementation of bio-fuel policy had been impeded by the "petroleum lobby which is very strong and is against farmers growing bio-fuel crops and also the liquor lobby which fears that if ethanol is produced, there will not be enough molasses left for production of Indian Made Foreign Liquor."

The Centre must give top priority and encourage rural farmers across the country with the help of NGOs to grow bio-fuel crops in wasteland which will not only help generate employment for the rural youth and the poor but will also help in the economic development of the farmers and thereby growth of the agriculture sector, Gadkari said.

"I feel a step like this will help provide jobs for at least two crore rural youth", he said.

Initiatives like non-imposition of tax on bio diesel, removing restrictions on marketing of bio-diesel will go a long way in production of bio-diesel, a bio-fuel which is eco-friendly and is an answer to the energy crisis in the impending future, Gadkari said.

One has to keep in mind that bio-fuel is an important "import substitute as 34 per cent of the nation`s budget is spent on importing bio-fuel and by encouraging indigenous production of bio-fuel, we will be saving approximately Rs 3.4 lakh crore", he said.

Describing Karnataka as one of the pioneer states in encouraging bio-fuel production by setting up of bio-fuel parks and motivating farmers to grow bio-fuel crops on wasteland, Gadkari appealed to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to provide some grants for establishing bio-diesel plants in rural areas.