The ever rising prices of fuel in India, has become a cause of worry for commuters. The cost of 1 litre of petrol in New Delhi, India is over Rs 80 as of today, while the cost of diesel stands at Rs 72. The Indian National Congress and other parties in the opposition have today called for a Bharat Bandh to protest against the Government of India’s move of increasing the fuel prices in India.
Congress alleges that the tax on petrol during BJP rule has risen to Rs 36.12 per litre from Rs 9.48 per litre that it was during the UPA rule. “Dear Fellow Indians, Mr Modi made us pay through the nose even as oil prices globally fell below USD 30 a barrel. This was not just exploitation, it was extortion,” says Sanjay Jha, the national spokesperson of INC. The Bharat Bandh that has been called today, has led to trouble for the common man as public transport services have been stopped.
“I am against any kind of Bandh as it causes more harm than good. There are other ways of protest against any issue. Any type of Bharat Bandh makes our country backward. Any type of Bharat Bandh causes a lot of damage and loss to state as well as central government,” says Vikalp Deshmukh, an Indian citizen opposing the Bandh. It is indeed puzzling as to why archaic methods like Bandh are called out for, instead of looking at and investing into alternatives of fuel, which can not only bring down pollution but also congestion, traffic jams and cutting down of trees for expansion of roads.
Recently, India’s first ever Global Mobility Summit held in New Delhi discussed and outlined the need for solutions to the country’s mobility problems to reduce pollution and congestion on Indian roads. The two day summit called ‘MOVE’ organized by NITI Aayog focused on the use of electric vehicles in India and was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi, and attended by nearly 1200 of dignitaries from India and across the world. The aim of the summit was to provide accessible, zero emission, efficient, affordable and shared modes of transport for Indian citizens. Here are some of the ideas discussed in the summit, as well as some other alternatives of fuel, which the Government of India can look into to make the life of Indian citizens easier.
Electric Vehicles and Digitization of Public Transport
Vehicle electrification is the need of the hour. Electric cars and buses have been around and discussed about for quite some time but are still struggling to make it into the market. PM Narendra Modi mentioned in the Global Mobility Summit in India that electric vehicle and alternate fuel vehicle policy will be brought forth soon in the country. “Charged mobility is the way forward. We want to drive investments across the value chain from batteries to smart charging to Electric Vehicle manufacturing. India’s entrepreneurs and manufacturers are now poised to develop and deploy break-through battery technology,” said Narendra Modi. Although, when this policy will come into place and more and more electric vehicles will ply on Indian roads is unknown. PM Modi also announced that digitization of the public transport like One Nation One Card program would be introduced to optimize travelling footprint and promote seamless integration with public transportation. Also, data driven measures like intelligent traffic management systems are being put in place.
Solar Cars and Vehicles
Solar cars and other vehicles, which run on the power of the sun have enormous potential to capture the market. However, as of now, no solar cars designed for public use are commercially available. Solar cars use solar array, which has photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Photovoltaic cells consist of semiconductor materials like silicon, indium alloys, gallium and nitrogen. India aims at using renewable sources of energy like wind and solar energy to generate a target of 175GW of energy by 2022. To do the same, India has taken the lead to form an International Solar Alliance of 121 countries to efficiently exploit solar energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. “If all the 30mn vehicles sold in India were #EVs (electric vehicles), we would need around 25 GW of solar energy to power them daily. Given our Govt’s target of achieving 100 GW of solar power, all the vehicles sold in 2022 could be powered by solar energy,” tweets Sun Mobility a company that deals with electric mobility and clean energy.
Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles
This is one option, which thankfully in India, is being exploited as an alternative to fuel. Several CNG cars, buses and other modes of transport like Grahmin Seva are already being used by millions of commuters. CNG, which mainly comprises of methane, is a much cheaper alternative to fuel. CNG-powered vehicles are also considered to be safer and more efficient than gasoline powered vehicles and also cause lesser pollution.
Propane could be a very good alternative to petrol as it is clean burning and high energy. More commonly known as liquefied petroleum gas, propane is cheaper than petrol. However, propane powered vehicles could be more expensive than those that use petrol.
The physical make-up of biodiesel is so similar to that of diesel that this renewable fuel, which is made up of soybean oil, animal fat, vegetable oil and waste oil byproducts of restaurants, in several diesel vehicles that are already on road. Volkswagen Group has stated that certain biodiesels are compatible with some of its cars.
Ola and Uber: Shared Mobility Could Be the Way Forward
Shared mobility and improvement of public transport system in India is certainly the way forward to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Companies like Ola and Uber offer shared rides at affordable prices that can reduce pollution and congestion on roads. Also green modes of transportation must be explored in India.