Nitin Gadkari, 59
Union Minister & Green Warrior
After his daughter’s wedding reception in March last year, Union minister Ananth Kumar was concerned about the huge amounts of leftover food. To his rescue came cabinet colleague Nitin Gadkari, who asked him to send the food across to his house. His plan: convert it all into organic manure.
Kumar was pleasantly surprised to learn that his colleague had installed a machine at his Lutyens’ zone bungalow, which recycles garbage such as dry leaves and leftovers. With an aversion to burning dry leaves, the transport minister contacted 20-25 adjacent bungalows to collect biowaste generated there. The machine, costing `75 lakh, can be operated manually and automatically. From going into the processing jar to the finished product state, it takes a month. The best thing about it is the absence of bad odours from the waste, thanks to chemicals added to make it stink-free.
For the MP from Nagpur, Maharashtra, who will be turning 60 in May, all good things should begin from home. For the first time, the National Highways Authority of India has decided to use municipal solid waste for its highway construction programme. It is being implemented on NH-24 Meerut Expressway on a pilot basis; the waste is being sourced from the Ghazipur landfill on the Delhi-UP border.
Gadkari says he is interested in learning about new technologies, especially eco—green fuel, biofuel, development of agriculture and conversion of agriculture produce into energy.
“People see garbage as waste but I see it differently. For me, waste is wealth and I have taken several initiatives to make money by recycling waste,” he says with his characteristic wide smile.
The minister has promised that Nagpur will be India’s first city where all city buses will run on ethanol. The first such vehicle hit the roads in December last year.
“The plan is to set up one manufacturing unit in each of the six districts of Nagpur division for producing ethanol. This will boost farmers’ income as ethanol will be made not just from molasses but also cotton straw, rice, bamboo and wheat straw,” Gadkari explains.