Import duty on used cooking oil may go

The government is considering removal of import duty on used cooking oil for its conversion into bio-diesel in a move aimed at pollution control, road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday.

"We will be withdrawing (import) duties on that oil. If that oil comes in the country then bio-diesel will be made from it," he said, while addressing a summit here on smart cities organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

"I have requested Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to withdraw duties on import of fried oil, which is often discarded as waste after being used once and is available in abundance across the world," he said.

"If that oil comes in our country it will help in making bio-diesel and its cost is about Rs3-4 per litre cheaper than petroleum diesel, and when we will withdraw duties imposed on the same, its price will come down by another Rs6-7 per litre," he added.

The minister urged farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to switch from molasses to ethanol production so as to contribute towards reducing pollution.

He also said that in the times ahead, use of electric cars and buses would be promoted for transportation in smart cities to reduce air pollution and provide cost-effective transport.

There is a plan to run 100 buses on ethanol, while cost-effective electric cars are also on the anvil with Indian scientists currently developing lithium batteries for buses at a cost of around Rs5 to 6 lakh, compared to the global average of Rs55 lakh, Gadkari said.

A study is soon to be completed on minimising pollution through disposal of garbage by burying these under highways and expressways to be constructed, the minister added.