JAIPUR: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is all set to establish western Rajasthan's most significant oil refinery program in his tenure itself.
The cost of the refinery in Barmer district is 43,129 crore Rupees and the program is expected to give employment to almost 1 lakh people. But over the last 10 years, the project has got delayed owing to politics over it between BJP and Congress.
Now, Rajasthan's Chief Minister has instructed the HPCL and his administration to complete the Barmer oil refinery in the next 4 years.
The refinery cum petrochemical complex is to be established in Pachpadra.
On Friday, Gehlot in a meeting took a review of the development of the refinery. In the meeting, Gehlot described the project as one of the most important and one which has to be built as a model one.
Gehlot said refinery is a significant industrial project and the youths of the state have high hopes from it for their jobs.
Keeping this in mind the government is planning to set up skill development centre and ITI that would give training on petrochemical related subjects to people of the area. The government is also keen to develop an industrial corridor to sell and transport petrochemical projects which can also create a lot of job opportunities.
"The project will create 40,000 jobs directly and 60,000 indirectly. We are trying to complete the project by October 2022" said HPCL, CMD, M K Surana.
The project was conceived 10 years ago but it's completion has failed to live up to the expectations of the people. Then Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, had laid the foundation stone of the refinery on September 22, 2013.
At the time, Ashok Gehlot was Rajasthan's Chief Minister in his second term. But then it was shrouded in politics and under Vasundhara Raje Government, the project went for a review.
She had alleged that the previous MoU had dealt a loss to the government. The Rajasthan government then entered into an MoU with the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited on April 2017 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a green signal to begin the project again in January 2018.
Both the BJP and Congress have accused each other of playing politics with the refinery. The loss has been for the local population which had expected job opportunities to come their way after the project initiated.
Unemployment was a major issue before the Vidhan Sabha elections and thus after Congress came to power Gehlot has put prominence on this project. With that Congress is targeting the panchayat elections to be held later in the year.
Gehlot briefed the officials to create an infrastructure of housing, medical and education for a large number of people who will be working in the project.
He also proposed to broaden the existing roads into 6 lanes. This move will also facilitate the development of hotels, restaurants and parking spaces along the highway.
Officials are also told to plan for the extension of the rail route up to Balotra and Pachpadra.
At the moment Barmer produces approximate 1 lakh 70, 000 barrel oil daily, 30% of the country’s domestic crude oil.
Cairn India, an oil and gas company, had found that India’s biggest onshore oil is in this district. Currently, the oil dug from the ground goes to Bhogat terminal Gujarat for refinement.