Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of Barmer Refinery-cum-Petrochemical complex in December, Union minister for petroleum and natural gas, and skill development and entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan informed the media while visiting Bharatiya Skill Development University (BSDU) on Friday.
“The refinery project has got environment clearance. We have sought time from the Prime Minister and most likely its foundation will be laid by him next month,” Pradhan said, claiming that India is moving fast in the direction of skill development and Modi himself monitors the schemes under it.
The Raje government is in war-footing mode to launch the project at the earliest. The reason is previous Gehlot government, which claims the refinery its brainchild, had signed an MoU with HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited) before the Assembly elections in 2013 but failed to turn into reality. When Raje came into power, she said that state needed to renegotiate the project. After almost three years of negotiations, the state government signed a new MoU with HPCL in April this year for setting up the complex.
As per the agreement, the HPCL has a 74 per cent stake while the state government holds a 26 per cent stake in the new firm which is called HPCL Rajasthan Refinery Limited (HRRL). The total cost of the project is Rs 431.29 billion. Raje at the time of signing MoU claimed that new agreement led to significant savings of Rs 400 billion. Also, the state would receive 12 per cent Return On Investment instead of earlier 2 per cent mentioned in Gehlot’s agreement.
After the MoU, the cordial relations between Raje and Pradhan speeded up the project. Pardhan’s ministry was entrusted to get clearance from ministry of environment which has been done. Modi also gave consent to lay the foundation stone on the request of Raje as well. It will be his second visit to Rajasthan in four months after Udaipur in August. The state machinery is also in full swing to prepare for the stone foundation ceremony of the project which will change economics of Rajasthan and boost employment. “The formalities for the foundation laying ceremony of the refinery are being worked out. The industries department has allotted 4,563 acres of land in Pachpadra to the Rajasthan HPCL limited. The lease deed draft has been finalised by the district collect of Barmer as well,” says a knowledgeable source in the state’s mines and petroleum department.