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PM addresses PDPU convocation via video-conference: ‘Will double oil refining capacity, raise natural gas usage 4 times’

During his address, Modi recalled his experience of battling “pre-conceived notions” as the former chief minister of Gujarat.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: November 22, 2020 9:59:50 am
PM address, PDPU convocation, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Ahmedabad news, Gujarat news, Indian express newsPrime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Saturday efforts were on to double India’s oil refining capacity in the next five years and multiply the usage of natural gas by four folds in this decade.

The Prime Minister, who was addressing the 8th convocation ceremony of Gandhinagar-based Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU) via video-conference, said the country was also moving forward to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 to 35 per cent.

During his address, Modi recalled his experience of battling “pre-conceived notions” as the former chief minister of Gujarat. He told the students how he had helped to separate feeders supplying electricity to domestic and agriculture consumers, and thus ensured round-the-clock and efficient power supply in the state.

“This experiment changed the mindset of all our officers at that point in time… If I had stuck to the preconceived notions, this would not have become a possibility. I had a clean slate and I used to think in a new way,” he said.

Under him, the PM said, the Gujarat government had “gambled” with solar power and purchased it at Rs 12-13 per unit even when thermal power was available at Rs 2.50 to Rs 3 per unit.

You (students) all know of today’s fashion to create a ruckus and find fault in small matters. I used to face a lot of problems then (as Gujarat CM). The issue came before me about power producers selling at (thermal power) Rs 2-3 per unit and (solar power) Rs 12-13 per unit. I was confronted with a moment where I had to worry about my reputation or worry about my future generations. I knew that this type of decision will be blown up by the media and will invite charges of corruption. But I had a clean heart. I genuinely believed that we had to do something to change our lifestyles. Finally, we decided to go for solar energy. And we made this decision with honesty, did it for a bright future with a vision. Solar plants began in Gujarat and in large numbers,” Modi said.

Solar energy, the PM added, has now become “a movement in the country” and the cost of solar power has “dropped below Rs 2 per unit”.

“Keeping in mind our energy needs, it is our endeavour to increase the proportion of natural gas by four times in this decade alone. In the next five years, efforts are being made to double the country’s oil refining capacity,” Modi said.

Exhorting the students graduating during the Covid-19 pandemic, Modi said they were entering the energy sector at an “opportune time”.

“Today, there are unlimited opportunities in the energy sector in India. You (students) all have reached this sector at the right time. In this decade, in just the oil and gas sector, crores of investment will happen. So, for you, there are ample opportunities from research to manufacturing,” the PM said.

During his virtual address, the PM also urged students to become the soldiers of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”. “Today’s India is passing through a big phase of transition. You have the responsibility of building an India of the future. Think about what a golden period you are in. You would not have thought of it. India will complete 75 years of independence in 2022 and 100 years in 2047. These (upcoming) 25 years are the most important years of your life,” he said.

The PM also suggested the state government to change the name of the Petroleum University to Energy University.

“Looking at the progress of the PDPU, I request the Gujarat government to make appropriate changes in the law if required and rename it as an Energy University instead of just calling it a Petroleum University… The imagination of having a Petroleum University was mine, and expanding upon my imagination, I request to connect it to the entire energy sector, instead of just petroleum. Please do a thing about it and if you find my suggestions appropriate, then you may act accordingly.”

A total of 2,600 students receive their degree certificates during the convocation ceremony. This included 40 PhD scholars who received their degrees and 77 students who were felicitated with medals of merit.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Reliance Industries Ltd managing director Mukesh Ambani, who is also the president of Board of Governors of PDPU, were also present at the event.

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