Not many realised that Union
Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari who addressed the auto industry leaders at the
57th SIAM Annual Convention in New Delhi last month left the audience not in
splits, but in an absolute state of confusion after his speech.
One really did not understand
whether the Minister wanted the auto industry to grow, or whether he preferred
alternative fuels based on agir products, or whether the government only wanted
to pursue its dream of electric vehicles.
The Minister, who spoke in
Hindi without any translation of any kind for the English speaking crowd from
overseas, began his speech by warning the audience that there are too many
vehicles on the roads leading to rising pollution and congestion on the roads.
“If you keep on making
vehicles like this, and if the growth of the industry continues like this, then
I have to add one more lane to the national highway in three years time which
will cost the government Rs 80,000 crore.
I know you will not like me telling that, but I wish your growth is a
lot less. This huge growth, the country will not be able to handle,” he said.
The Minister, it felt, meant
that there are already too many vehicles on the roads and it the industry to
produce and sell fewer vehicles.
“I was in America recently and
I sat in a taxi driven by an Indian. He told me that I drive the taxi every day
and i earn $ 700 to $800 per day. He was from Jallandhar. He further told me
that his daughter came to study here and he got her a car too. She is studying
but when she is done with her studies during the day, she drives the taxi too.
And they are living very happily. I was very inspired by that model,” he said
thereafter. Now the Minister is apparently impressed by the app based taxi
aggregator model and tells the audience he wants to adopt a similar model in
India’s rural areas.
“There was an engineer in
America who used to meet Modi often. He asked me can an app based model similar
to Ola and Uber be made specially for India. I have tried a lot and we are
preparing a platform for that. The app should be such that in our small towns
and villages, even the two-wheeler can be made into a taxi. We are poor
country. Thus, if one man has to travel, why then do we have to use a car to
travel. We are preparing such an app based model. There is a huge potential
here and I want the views of the auto industry on this...,” the Minister
Then he said the nation needs
22 lakh drivers. The government is starting 2000 driving training institutions,
each on a 2 acre land in rural areas and semi urban areas. Priority will be
given to generate employment. There is
no need to open these institutions in metro cities, he said.
There you go, the Minister
forgot that he started his speech by saying that our roads are choked and he
wants the auto industry not to grow fast. Confusing?
“The country's import and
pollution are major problems faced by the government. Both need to be reduced.
Because of the huge import bill of oil, the economy is facing a lot of
problems. It is time to go for alternative fuel based on agri products. And
that alternative fuel needs to be belonging to our country. With this,
pollution will come down and so will our fuel bill. I am going to do it whether
you like it or do not like it. I am not going to seek your permission. I am
going to bull doze,” the Minister threatens with a smile.
Now when he said bulldoze, he
meant that he would be bulldozing the makers of diesel and petrol engine
Then the Minister says in
Hindi, “...petrol-diesel banane walon ka band bajaa bajaana, woh mere man mein
hein. Isme koi confusion nahin hein.” (I am going to take to task the makers of
petrol and diesel engine vehicles)
Those are not good words to
use before such an august company of industry leaders. From agri-based fuels
the Minister then hops on to electric vehicles.
“I have a request, electric
bike, electric bus and electric car this has to happen. Ours is a crystal clear
policy that we shall adopt electric vehicles in the country,” he adds. Then he goes
back to alternative fuels. “Alternative fuel is good for the country. LNG is a
fuel of the future. We have encouraged people to set up LNG terminals. We can
import LNG and convert it into CNG at different places and can run vehicles on
CNG. So if you come with the changes, it would be beneficial for vehicle
Now the question is electric vehicles by 2030 or alternative fuels for
Coming to today’s car powered
by an IC engine, there may be as many as 30,000 or more parts. These parts are
made of metal, rubber, plastic and other such stuff and include items like
tyres, seats, wheels, steering wheels, head lamps, meters, wires, windshields.
But if an IC engine is
replaced by an electric powertrain, a lot of parts would vanish overnight. More
than 1000 parts make up a powertrain. These include the likes of an engine
block, cylinder head, crankshaft, crankshaft bearings, flywheel/flexplate,
vibration damper, oil pan, valve cover, starter, piston rings bearings, camshafts,
gears, push rods, rocker arms, rocker arm adjusters, valves, Intake manifold,
throttle body, 4 fuel injectors, exhaust manifold, catalytic convertors, Oil
pump, Water pump belt tensioner, Distributor, ignition coil, spark plugs, etc.
Then there are a whole bunch
of bolts, studs, nuts, and washers to hold it all together and then wires and
connectors to hook it all together.
So what happens to all those
who manufacture these parts and have invested hundreds and thousands of crores
of rupees in setting up their plants, the OEMs as well as suppliers? What about
those who own petrol stations? Can we just bulldoze them?
Mr Minister do you want the IC
engine to survive on alternative fuels or do you only want electric vehicles?
Can you be very specific and clear please?
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