There is a hope for revival of the Nanar refinery project as the Maharashtra government seems to be changing its mind about the project in Konkan region, said Union Minister for Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan, at an event in Mumbai on Sunday.
Pradhan was in conversation with Loksatta Editor Girish Kuber at the ‘Loksatta Tarun Tejankit Awards 2021’, where awards were given to talented young achievers from different sectors of Maharashtra by the Union Minister.
At the event, the Union Minister was introduced by Anant Goenka, Executive Director of the Indian Express Group. Senior scientist Dr Anil Kakodkar, senior researcher Priyadarshini Karve, social activist Girish Kulkarni and Subhash Patil of PricewaterhouseCoopers were felicitated by Goenka at the event.
Speaking at the event, Pradhan said, “In collaboration with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, it was planned to build a 6-million tonne oil refinery on the Konkan coast. But unfortunately, it was opposed. This wasted precious time. But now there are indications that the Maharashtra government is changing its mind. The plan is to reduce the size of the project and build it in Konkan,” Pradhan said, adding that the government’s change of mind should be welcomed with the phrase Der aaye durust aye (better late than never).
“The Nanar oil refinery project in Konkan has the potential to contribute millions of crores of rupees and employment to Maharashtra’s economy. Though the project has been stalled for the last few years due to opposition, now that the Maharashtra government seems to be changing its mind, there is hope for revival of the Nanar project,” said Pradhan.
Pradhan also said that millions of crores will flow into Maharashtra’s economy in the next few years due to the project. Complementary industries related to this project will be established and these will also generate a large number of jobs, he said.
The minister said the mega project in petrochemical sector will also help the country achieve the goal of energy security.
He also said, “Education in India has unfortunately become degree-oriented. However, the central government wants it to job-oriented. Higher education institutions like IITs produce better employees for employment.”
Pradhan said there was a need to create employment generators. At the same time, there was also a need to gradually reconsider how much higher education fees should be.
“It is time to consider whether the fees for children of rich entrepreneurs, political leaders and the children of common man coming from rural areas should be the same in government educational institutions,” he said.
“India has been a world exporter of knowledge since ancient times and the tradition is continuing today as well. Youth with higher education go abroad and this is called brain drain. But we are going to transform it into a brain bank. At the same time, we are trying our best to ensure that the youth of India do not have to go abroad for higher education so that they can get good-quality higher education in India,” said Pradhan.
He also expressed confidence that India will become self-reliant in the energy sector in the near future.
“The world is changing its energy model and in this changing scenario, India will introduce new energy models to the world. Hydrogen energy, along with bio-fuels and solar energy, will make a significant contribution to this new model,” he said.
Some of the winners of the Loksatta Tarun Tejankit Awards are mathematician Dr Mahesh Kakade, IAS officers Nidhi Chaudhary and Abhijeet Bangar, entrepreneur Ajinkya Dharia, boxer Alfia Pathan, para badminton player Mansi Joshi, painter Shishir Shinde, producer-director Manava Naik, director-actor Sarang Sathye and director Chaitanya Tamhane.