The Finance Ministry has rejected Petroleum Minister Murli Deoras plan to expand and upgrade the proposed Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology in the Congress presidents constituency Rae Bareli.
While the Cabinet agreed to pay Rs 285 crore from the Budget for the institute in July 2007,Deora wants this to be raised to Rs 608 crore. Of this,it wants Rs 250 crore in 2010-11.
Blaming the Ministry for inadequate planning, the Department of Expenditure has declined his request and wants Deoras ministry to raise funds from elsewhere. For 2010-11,it has sanctioned just Rs 36 crore.
The Ministry is advised to implement the project within the already approved gross budgetary sanction of Rs 285 crore and explore the possibility of funding the remaining through public-private partnership, the DoE wrote on February 4.
Besides the PPP mode of funding,the Finance Ministry wants Petroleum to actively explore the possibility of raising funds from private sector oil companies as the proposed institute which today functions from makeshift classrooms would lead to significant benefits to the private sector oil entities.
In 2006,then Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar had declined Rahul Gandhis request for a petroleum training school in his mothers constituency but had to relent after Sonia wrote a terse letter directing him to stick to the location.
She laid the institutes foundation stone at Jais on February 20,2008. Today,it functions out of rented premises in Rae Bareli.
Aiyars successor Deora proposed to upgrade it to a world-class institute with several courses. In 2007,he got the Cabinet to approve it as an institute of national importance even though the Department of Expenditure was consistently of the view (in 2006 and 2007) that to begin with,the institute must be opened on a modest scale which could be upscaled depending on the response the institute gets.