As the Vasundhara Raje government renegotiates the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the Ashok Gehlot government with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) for a refinery in Barmer, Gehlot on Friday attacked the government for inordinate delays in implementing the project.
“The refinery project has not gone to the private sector or to any industrialist. It is a government of India project. HPCL would have invested Rs 40,000 crore into the project but the state government has deliberately put a spanner in the works out of political vendetta…This project does not benefit any private company but by not implementing it, the private sector is being benefited,” Gehlot told reporters on Friday.
“State governments long for such projects and we had fought with the Centre to get approval at the earliest. Now what is the reason behind stalling it? The state government has a stake in it. Whether you increase or decrease that stake, no one has objections, but to stall it just because it was approved by the previous government is not right,” he added.
Raje, soon after coming to power, had maintained that the MoU inked with HPCL for the refinery was a shoddy deal for the state government and that the stakes of the state should be increased.
Raje, who also holds the finance portfolio, took a hard stand on the oil refinery in Barmer and announced that the terms of the project will be renegotiated with HPCL.
“The previous government had committed to pay Rs 3,736 crore for 15 years as an interest free loan. This would have amounted to over Rs 56,000 crore. For such a lucrative project, the state government agreed to pay Rs 56,000 crore but kept the state’s share limited to only 26 per cent,” she had said in her budget speech last year.
Secretary (Mines and Petroleum) Ashok Singhvi told The Indian Express, “A committee comprising two directors of HPCL and two state government representatives, principal secretary of mines and finance departments, has been formed to renegotiate the terms of agreement for the project. So far three meetings have taken place and over the next few months we should arrive at a decision over the quantum of incentive being given by the state government.”
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