Steel czar Lakshmi N Mittal has threatened to stop work on the Rs 18,919-crore oil refinery project at Bhatinda in Punjab unless the state government restored fiscal incentives it had taken away a few years ago.
Mittal is believed to have written to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his personal intervention in the issue that has threatened the viability of the 9 million tons a year refinery project.
Sources in the know of the development said Mittal earlier this month wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding fiscal concessions at par with what the Madhya Pradesh government has given to the Bharat Petroleum-promoted Bina refinery project.
Losing a fortune in the global economic meltdown, Mittal had contemplated quitting the project altogether, but had been persuaded to stay on with the promise that the Centre would convince the Punjab government to restore fiscal concession.
Without the fiscal concessions like sales tax waiver on fuel it produces, the landlocked refinery was not viable and Mittal does not want to put more funds beyond the initial Rs 500 crore he had paid for equity, they said.
Mittal wrote to the prime minister that in absence of the fiscal concessions, he and project partner Hindustan Petroleum would be 'reluctantly constrained to stop work,' they added.
The India-born billionaire has already pulled out of HPCL's proposed $6-billion refinery-cum-petrochemical project proposed at Vizag in Andhra Pradesh.