In Rajasthan, Congress, BJP Tap Into Barmer Oil Refinery For Credit

Assembly elections in Rajasthan will be held later this year.

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In Rajasthan, Congress, BJP Tap Into Barmer Oil Refinery For Credit

PM Modi taking tour of an exhibition at Barmer Refinery on Tuesday (PTI)


Jaipur:  The "project commencement work" at a proposed petroleum refinery Barmer, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended this morning, is the focus of the latest tussle between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress in Rajasthan. Assembly elections will be held in the state later this year, in which the Vasundhara Raje government hopes to retain power.  

The odd choice of the name, the BJP says, marks the ineptitude of the state's previous Congress government. The foundation stone of the project was laid by Sonia Gandhi in September 2013, three months before the government led by Ashok Gehlot was shunted out. But nothing has been done since, says the BJP.

In his address to the gathering, PM Modi said it has fallen upon the BJP to ensure that the Rs 43,129 crore project is up and running.  Congratulating the Vasundhara Raje government, PM Modi said, "Vasundhara has got the best deal out of Central government... They have got a project going that the Congress had allowed to languish".

The claim has met with vociferous protests from Mr Gehlot. His party has alleged that after coming to power in December 2013, the Vasundhara Raje government deliberately delayed the project.

The deal was inked in April last year. In August, Mr Gehlot had written to PM Modi, saying the delay has escalated the cost of the project.

Mr Gehlot said the renegotiation has made no significant gains in the state's share, which was 26 per cent earlier as well.  "I want to ask why didn't they get 50 per cent stake for the state government? The stake is still at 26 per cent. Why?" he said.

Under the new agreement with the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited or HPCL, which will run the refinery, Rajasthan will own 26 per cent stake in the joint venture. The rest, 74 per cent, will belong to the state-owned oil major.

At the time of signing the deal, Ms Raje said the fresh agreement has led to a significant saving of Rs 40,000 crore. Also, the state would receive 12 per cent return on its investment instead of earlier 2 per cent mentioned in the agreement hammered out by the Ashok Gehlot government.


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