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Friday, July 30, 2021

Petrochemical complex in Vidarbha? Union minister Pradhan orders techno-economic feasibility study

Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted about the issue after a meeting with former CM Devendra Fadnavis, who had led a delegation of Vidarbha Economic Development Council, a forum comprising prominent Vidarbha industrial leaders, to meet Pradhan at New Delhi on Tuesday

Written by Vivek Deshpande | Nagpur |
Updated: June 30, 2021 5:41:07 pm
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. (File)

Union Minister for Petrochemicals Dharmendra Pradhan has agreed to institute a techno-economic feasibility study to set up a petrochemical complex in Vidarbha.

Pradhan tweeted about the issue after a meeting with former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who had led a delegation of Vidarbha Economic Development (VED) Council, a forum comprising prominent Vidarbha industrial leaders, to meet Pradhan at New Delhi on Tuesday.

“Always a pleasure meeting former CM and LoP in Maharashtra Assembly Shri Devendra Fadnavis. We had discussions on establishing a petrochemical-cum-refinery complex in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra to further create opportunities for employment and economic growth in the state,” Pradhan tweeted.

Although Pradhan’s tweet didn’t mention the techno-economic feasibility study, Fadnavis later told news agency ANI in Delhi, “I met Pradhan along with VED Council delegation today (Tuesday). The minister was very positive about the possibility of setting up a petrochemical complex in Vidarbha. After we gave him a presentation about it, he immediately issued an order for a techno-economic feasibility study. I am confident that such a complex can be set up (in Vidarbha) and the minister was also convinced about it.”

VED Council President Shivkumar Rao told The Indian Express, “We have been campaigning for a refinery in Vidarbha for the past many years. Pradhan said that a refinery may not be feasible but proposed to mull the possibility of a petrochemical complex in Vidarbha and also ordered a techno-economic feasibility study.”

Rao further said, “The government already has a plan to set up 15 petrochemical complexes across the country. He said the government can set up one in Vidarbha if the project is found feasible after the study.”

Asked where in Vidarbha the complex will be be built, Rao said, “It can come up near Nagpur along the Samruddhi Mahamarg being built between Nagpur and Mumbai. It will entail bringing gases from Bombay High to Vidarbha by a pipeline along the highway. The different production units in the complex will use the gas as raw material to produce polymers, which will then be used to manufacture various plastic items. This will give a boost to medium and small  enterprises, and will help Vidarbha’s developmental process. It will also generate huge employment.”

On why the VED Council felt that it was prudent and cost-beneficial to bring the gas all the way from Mumbai to Nagpur instead of setting up the petrochemical complex somewhere close to Mumbai, Rao said, “It makes economic sense because the products manufactured near Mumbai will have to be transported to different parts of the country at a huge transportation cost. If manufactured in Nagpur, they would be transported to different parts of central India at a much lower cost. That is precisely why the government is planning to set up 15 such complexes across the country. Otherwise, such a complex would have been envisioned only near the place of gas production.”

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