May 9, 2021 1:27:40 am
Five state-owned oil and gas PSUs, on Friday, committed Rs 100 crore for the redevelopment of Shri Badrinath Dham in Uttarakhand as a spiritual smart city. Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the move “would help attract tourists to the state”, adding that oil PSUs would also contribute to the development of Kedarnath, Uttarkashi, Yamunotri and Gangotri. The latest announcement, however, has triggered questions on why oil sector PSUs are directing corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds towards such a project when India is dealing with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
To make it ‘self-sustaining’
Sources at oil and gas public sector undertaking (PSUs) told The Indian Express that the decision to contribute to the development of Shri Badrinath Dham “was in the process” before the pandemic.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), GAIL, and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) are each set to contribute about Rs 25 crore, while Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) will contribute about Rs 20 crore and Rs 5.5 crore, respectively.
A source at a leading oil PSU said that the goal behind this move was to make the Shri Badrinath Dham “economically self-sustaining”.
Earlier contribution by PSUs
The aforementioned five oil and gas PSUs contributed Rs 870 crore to the PM-CARES fund set up last year to combat the pandemic.
Oil & gas sector companies have also been participating in the efforts to bolster the supply of oxygen to the worst-affected areas across the country, as India deals with a second wave of infections.
The oil and gas PSUs mentioned did not immediately respond to emailed requests for formal comment on their contributions to the project.
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