Vasundhara Raje meets PM Modi, officially invites him to foundation ceremony
After several postponements to lay the foundation stone for the ambitious Barmer refinery project, on Thursday it was finally decided that prime minister Narendra Modi would come for the event post Sankrant. On Saturday, chief minister Vasundhara Raje met prime minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi and officially invited him for foundation stone laying ceremony of the proposed refinery. The PM had previously agreed to attend the ceremony and accepted the invite. He will be in Rajasthan on January 16 to preside over the function.
“It was a formal meeting and at the meet the two leaders discussed several issues along with the refinery stone laying,” said an official at the chief minister’s office. Raje government is on war-footing mode to launch the project at the earliest because the previous Gehlot government had failed to turn the project into a reality. Previously, the Gehlot government had signed an MoU with HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited) before the Assembly elections in 2013. The project though never advanced towards implementation. CM Raje felt the need to renegotiate the project and 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.
Cordial relations between Raje and union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan also helped to speed up the project. Pardhan’s ministry was entrusted to get clearance from ministry of environment which has been done. The state machinery is also in full swing to prepare for the foundation stone laying ceremony of the project which will change economics of Rajasthan and boost employment. According to officials at state mines and petroleum department, 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.
After prolonged negotiations that lasted over three years, Rajasthan government on April 19, 2017 signed a revised MoU with HPCL for a 9 million metric tonne crude oil refinery at Barmer that would require investments of Rs 431.29 billion and produce fuels meeting BS-VI specifications.
Announcing the details, Union minister of state for petroleum and natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan said the deal will save the state Rs 400 billion with annual viability gap funding of Rs 11.23 billion for 15 years instead of Rs 37.36 billion as per the previous MoU that former CM Ashok Gehlot signed with HPCL.