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Oil export to Pak very much in pipeline

punjab Updated: Mar 20, 2013 23:28 IST
Kamaldeep Singh Brar
Kamaldeep Singh Brar
Hindustan Times
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India's unsteady relations with Pakistan won't unstable the prospect of oil export to the neighbor from Guru Gobind Singh refinery here.

The statement came on Wednesday during a function at Mandi Killian Wali, where Prabh Das, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of HPCL-Mittal Energy Limited (HMEL), also handed over the keys of new homes to the poor families of the village.

HEML plans to export fuel from its 9-million-tonne oil refinery in Punjab to Pakistan, nearest foreign market. "We are in negotiations with Pakistan to sell them oil," said Das. Asked if bitter bilateral relations would block the deal, he said: "No."

The refinery would help Punjab attract more investment in industry, said Das. "Not only Gujarat but also Punjab is a favourable state for industrial investment," he added. "We have great support from its government in just four years of the venture."

The Bathinda refinery produces 1.80-lakh-barrel oil and is expected to bring allied industries such as plastic and fertiliser units to the adjoining region. The refinery built homes for the poor in the CM's home constituency on his request.

"We had planned this colony in 2002. When we made the government again in 2007, we resumed work on the project," KJS Cheema, special principal secretary to the chief minister, said here on Wednesday. "The CM requested Lakshmi Mittal (steel tycoon who has major share in the refinery) to build the homes for the poor."

The land for the colony came from a private individual named Rajinder Singh Bhatti and Mittal made the rest of the investment, yet the state government was happy to claim credit. "We have similar colonies in some other villages of Lambi as well but the one built by the refinery people is the best," said Cheema.

"We are glad the poor now have a house. It is our benevolent gift to humanity," said Das. This was HMEL's corporate social responsibility initiative. Deputy commissioner Parmjit Singh, senior superintendent of police Surjit Singh and local Akali leaders were present.

Rich man's gift
The housing project for the poor at Mandi Killian Wali village of Lambi assembly constituency began in March 2010 and took Rs 5.6 crore to complete. It comprises 144 one-floor residential units on 8.5 acres. The built area of each unit is 430 square feet and contains two bedrooms, kitchen and backyard, separate toilet and bathroom, cowshed, hand pump, and a boundary wall. The colony had brick-edged roads, underground sewers, solar-powered garden lights, and parks.