The Barmer oil refinery, caught in a political quagmire after its foundation stone was laid by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in 2013, has come back to the priority list of the Congress government here, with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot setting the target for the project’s completion within four years.
The previous BJP regime had stalled the project and renegotiated the terms with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited for setting up the refinery. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated “commencement of work” at project site Pachpadra last year and accused the Congress of announcing the project without any clearances or budget allocation.
Mr. Gehlot, who had criticised Mr. Modi for “relaying” the refinery’s foundation stone, said here over the weekend that this would be a significant industrial project resulting in the establishment of a model oil refinery with an investment of ₹43,129 crore.
He asked the HPCL officials and the State government departments to make the refinery operational as per the target.
The Chief Minister at a review meeting said that the youth had high hopes on the refinery for jobs and business opportunities. He said the State government would set up skill development centres as well as an industrial training institute for imparting training and guidance on petrochemical-related subjects.
An industrial corridor to be developed in Barmer district will also ensure consumption of petrochemical products and create employment opportunities.
Mr. Gehlot said the existing Jodhpur-Barmer road would be converted into a six-lane highway to cater to the increase in traffic, while the wayside facilities would help the travellers and drivers.
HPCL Managing Director M.K. Surana said the refinery project would create 40,000 jobs directly and 60,000 jobs indirectly. He said ₹1,348 crore had so far been spent and tenders had been floated for construction works worth ₹10,000 crore.