Gadkari vows to eliminate petrol, diesel vehicles in India, bats for lower tax on hybrid cars

News Network
April 1, 2024

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Nagpur: As part of his ambition to make India a green economy, Union minister Nitin Gadkari wants to slash GST on hybrid vehicles and has vowed to rid the country entirely of the over 36 crore petrol and diesel vehicles.

"One hundred per cent," Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, said when asked whether it is possible for India to get rid of petrol and diesel cars altogether.

"It is difficult but not impossible. This is my vision," Gadkari said in an interview to PTI.

He said that India spends Rs 16 lakh crore on fuel imports. This money will be used for improving the life of farmers, villages will be prosperous, and the youth will get employment, the minister said.

Gadkari did not give any timeline to meet this ambitious target which even proponents of green energy believe is mind bogglingly difficult.

The proposal to reduce GST on hybrid vehicles to five per cent and to 12 per cent for flex engines has been sent to the Finance Ministry, which is considering the requisition, Gadkari said.

The minister said that he firmly believes the country can end fuel import by promoting the use of biofuels.

Environmental activists welcomed Gadkari's vision for increasing green mobility, but also struck a word of caution by flagging the use of fossil fuels in the production of electricity.

"In India, we are still heavily dependent on a fossil fuel-based energy system to power electric cars, and this needs to be changed. There is urgent need to ensure 100 per cent renewable energy alongside electric vehicles to tackle the climate crisis," Avinash Chanchal, a campaigner for Greenpeace India, told PTI.

Gadkari said he has been pitching for alternative fuels since 2004 and is confident things will change in the coming five to seven years.

"I cannot give you a date and year for this transformation to take place as it is very difficult. This is difficult but not impossible," Gadkari asserted.

He said he firmly believes that given the speed with which electric vehicles are being introduced, the coming era will be of alternative, and biofuels and this dream will come true.

Gadkari said auto companies such as Bajaj, TVS and Hero are also planning to manufacture motorcycles using flex engines and auto rickshaws using similar technology too were on the way.

"I roam around in a car that runs on hydrogen. You can see electric cars in every other household. People who used to say this was impossible, have changed their views now and started believing in what I have been saying for the last 20 years," the minister said.

"Tatas and Ashok Leyland have introduced trucks that run on hydrogen. There are trucks that run on LNG/CNG. There are 350 factories across the country of bio-CNG," he said.

"Definitely, a revolution is taking place. The fuel imports will end, and this country will become self-reliant – Atmanirbhar Bharat. I strongly believe in this," Gadkari said.

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News Network
April 11,2024

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Six children were killed on Thursday morning after a private school bus carrying around 40 children lost control and overturned in Haryana's Mahendragarh district. The bus was on its way to school, which was functioning despite Eid-ul-Fitr holiday. 

Several students were left injured due to this accident. The incident took place near Unhani village in the Mahendranagar district.

Parents and locals are also asking why the school remained open on Eid, a public holiday.

Six children died and over 20 were injured when the school bus rammed a tree and overturned this morning. The driver was reportedly drunk, the police said.

The bus, whose fitness certificate had expired in 2018, belonged to GL Public School. A state road transport official has been suspended for failing to control vehicles running without proper valid documents.

State Education Minister Seema Trikha said an inquiry is being conducted to find out why the school was functioning on a holiday. She reiterated that the school should have been shut today and that a show-cause notice has been served.

"The school should not have been open today. A show-cause notice has been issued and apart from that, we have taken self-affidavits from the private schools. The schools will have to provide an affidavit of the transport vehicles stating that they function according to the transport rules," she said.

Asked who bears the responsibility for such a tragedy, the minister said the schools and the bus owners will be held accountable along with the driver.

"If (school bus) drivers are found to be drunk, schools will be held responsible. In such cases, FIRs will be filed against the driver, the school's principal, and the bus owner."

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News Network
April 14,2024

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New Delhi: A 24-year-old student from India was shot dead inside a car in Canada's South Vancouver, the local police have said. The Vancouver Police in a statement said Chirag Antil, 24, was found dead inside a vehicle in the area after neighbours reported hearing gunshots.

"Officers were called to East 55th Avenue and Main Street around 11 pm on April 12 after residents heard the sound of gunshots. Chirag Antil, 24, was found deceased inside a vehicle in the area. No arrests have been made, and the investigation remains ongoing," the police said.

Chirag Antil's brother Ronit told reporters that Chirag seemed happy when they spoke on the phone in morning. Chirag later took out his Audi to go somewhere. That was when he was shot dead.

The Congress students' wing National Students' Union of India chief Varun Choudhary in a post on X tagging the Ministry of External Affairs requested for assistance to the student's family.

"Urgent attention regarding the murder of Chirag Antil, an Indian student in Vancouver, Canada. We urge the Ministry of External Affairs to closely monitor the progress of the investigation and ensure that justice is swiftly served," Mr Choudhary said.

"Additionally, we request the ministry to extend all necessary support and assistance to the family of the deceased during this difficult time," he said.

Chirag Antil's family is raising money through the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to repatriate his body to India, local media reported.

Haryana resident Romit Antil, the brother of Chirag Antil, told CityNews that he was a kind-hearted person.

"My brother and I had a great relationship. We used to talk every day, day and night. I spoke to him last before the accident happened. He was kind of happy, he never had any issues or fights with anyone, ever. He was an extremely polite person," Romit Antil told CityNews.

Chirag Antil came to Vancouver in September 2022. He just finished MBA at University Canada West, and recently got his work permit.

Here are 5 facts about Chirag Antil

1.    Chirag Antil was a resident of Sonipat, Haryana.
2.    He was the youngest son of Mahavir Antil, a retired employee of the Sugar Mill Department of the Haryana Government.
3.    Chirag moved to Vancouver in 2022 to pursue higher studies at the University Canada West (UCW), in British Columbia.
4.    After completing his MBA, he started working at a company in Canada after getting a work permit.
5.    Chirag's brother Ronit shared in an interview that his younger sibling was a "kind-hearted" person. "I spoke to him last before the accident happened," he said and added that Chirag sounded "happy".

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News Network
April 13,2024

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New Delhi: Seventeen Indians are on board an Israeli-linked container ship that has been seized by the Iranian military amid heightened tensions between Iran and Israel.

Official sources said India is in touch with Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and in Delhi, to ensure the welfare and early release of the Indian nationals.

The Iranian action came amid increasing fears that Tehran may launch an attack on Israeli soil in retaliation to a strike on the Iranian consulate in Syria 12 days ago.

"We are aware that a cargo ship 'MSC Aries' has been taken control by Iran. We have learnt that there are 17 Indian nationals onboard," said a source.

"We are in touch with the Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and in Delhi, to ensure security, welfare and early release of Indian nationals," it said.

Reports said Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards seized MSC Aries on Saturday morning when it was sailing through the Strait of Hormuz.

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