Based on an announcement a month ago by union minister for oil and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan on setting up a new oil refinery in Konkan, Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) has said even Vidarbha region can be considered as one of the options. Addressing a press conference, VED joint secretary Pradeep Maheshwari, who has been batting for a refinery in the region since at least one year, said, "Having a set up in Vidarbha will lead to major logistical advantage.
Consumers in the region will be able to get petroleum products at a lower price since transportation cost will be done away with. The transportation cost of petroleum products from Manmad near Mumbai to centres in Vidarbha increases the price at present."
VED president Devendra Parekh said the NGO will be demanding that the government reconsider its decision on the location and consider Vidarbha. "There are inland refineries at Bhatinda in Punjab, Panipat (Haryana), Mathura (UP), Bina (Madhya Pradesh) and Barauni in Bihar. Probably, the government wanted a refinery in each of the states, and the coastal area in Maharashtra may have been chosen due to its advantage. But there is scope for one in Vidarbha, which can also cater to consumers in Chhattisgarh and southern Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana," said Parekh.
Maheshwari said crude can be transported through a pipeline to the new refinery, which can come up in Gondia or Bhandara. The proposed National Industries and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) at Umred can also be an ideal location, he said. Bringing the crude to Vidarbha through the pipeline will do away with the cost of transportation. Only a one-time capital expenditure for laying the pipeline will have to be incurred, he said.