Two days after he took a dig at the UPA government over its failure to implement the Assam gas cracker project on time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday slammed it again – this time over the delay in adhering to the timeline of any project.
Inaugurating the Rs 35,000-crore 15-million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) oil refinery of Indian Oil Corporation in Paradip, Modi said Congress leaders are criticising him for inaugurating projects started by their government.
“Let me tell them that I feel happy when inaugurating a project. But as the Prime Minister, I don’t feel happy,” he said. “I would have felt happy had this project been completed at least 15 years ago…(there isn’t) any pride in inaugurating a project that should have been completed years ago.”
Pointing out that projects become expensive due to inordinate delays, he said, “We need to have a culture where a project, once started, is completed on time. The bureaucracy and policymakers need to ensure that they are completed on time so that people get the benefits on time.”
The Paradip refinery was planned in the early 1990s by the state government then led by Biju Patnaik, but its foundation stone was laid only in May 2000 by then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Modi said the new refinery will ensure that rural households in the country do not cook with firewood or coal. “When a rural woman cooks for an hour, the smoke she inhales is equivalent to 400 cigarettes. The LPG gas produced at this refinery would be enough for poor women in rural areas to start using LPG,” he said.
Praising Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Modi said Odisha added 11 lakh new LPG connections within a year since he became the petroleum minister, while it had just about 60 lakh gas connections in the 60 preceding years before that. “This is an example of how work should happen,” he said.
Emphasising the need for energy-sufficiency and less dependence on crude oil, Modi said he has asked officials to bring down total crude oil import by 10 per cent by 2022. “For this, we have to use ethanol from sugarcane and jatropha, and mix them with crude oil,” he said. “After producing sugarcane adequate for sugar (factories), farmers should be encouraged to give away the rest of the cane for ethanol.
While Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik thanked farmers for agreeing to leave their land for the refinery project, Modi said: “The Paradip project has shown that farmers here are ready to give their land so that lakhs of youths get jobs,” he added.
Earlier in the day. Modi inaugurated the permanent campus of National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) in Jatni near Bhubaneswar.
“Our priority should be to make science and technology affordable to the masses with zero-effect and zero-defect,” Modi said. He explained that by ‘zero-effect’ he meant it should not adversely affect the environment. While stressing on energy conservation, the PM said: “If 100 (smart) cities use LED bulbs, the country will save 20,000 MW power. A small technological advance can save crores of rupees,” he said.