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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Explained: Why oil PSUs have pledged Rs 100 crore for development of Badrinath Dham

Announcing this Friday, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said the move “would help attract tourists to the state” and added that oil sector PSUs would also contribute to the development of Kedarnath, Uttarkashi, Yamunotri and Gangotri.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
Updated: May 11, 2021 8:30:53 am
A source at a leading oil PSU said that the goal behind this move was to make Badrinath Dham “economically self-sustaining”. (File Photo)

Five state-owned oil and gas PSUs have committed Rs 100 crore for the redevelopment of the Badrinath Dham in Uttarakhand as a spiritual smart city. Announcing this Friday, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said the move “would help attract tourists to the state” and added that oil sector PSUs would also contribute to the development of Kedarnath, Uttarkashi, Yamunotri and Gangotri.

But this latest announcement has triggered questions on why the country’s Oil sector PSU’s are directing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds towards this project at a time when India deals with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Why has this decision been taken now?

Sources at oil sector PSUs told The Indian Express that the decision to contribute to the development of Badrinath Dham “was in the process” before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), GAIL, and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) are each set to contribute about Rs 25 crore to the redevelopment project while Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) are set to 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 Badrinath Dham “economically self-sustaining”.

How have oil and gas sector PSUs contributed to dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic?

These five oil and gas sector PSUs have contributed a total of Rs 870 crore to the PM-CARES fund set up last year to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Oil and gas sector companies have also been participating in the effort to bolster the supply of oxygen to the worst affected areas across the country as India deals with a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

IOCL has imported containers and converted 14 of its LNG tankers for the transportation of oxygen and is also supplying 150 Metric tonnes (MT) of medical grade oxygen produced at its Panipat refinery to Delhi, Haryana and Punjab.

BPCL has also started supplying 100 MT of oxygen per month to hospitals in Kerala and is gearing up to provide a total of 300 MT of oxygen to hospitals in Maharasthra and MP through production from its refineries in Mumbai and Bina according to a company official.

GAIL and IOCL are also part of the government’s efforts to import medical grade oxygen to meet the oxygen requirement of covid affected areas across the country.

The oil and gas sector PSUs mentioned did not immediately respond to emailed requests for formal comment on their contributions to the Badrinath project.

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