Vasundhara Raje first proposed Barmer refinery: BJP
Ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit to Rajasthan, the BJP said on Tuesday that the Vasundhara Raje government had first proposed an oil refinery in Barmer in 2004, but the then UPA government ignored itjaipur Updated: Jan 09, 2018 20:39 IST
Ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit to Rajasthan, the BJP said on Tuesday that the Vasundhara Raje government had first proposed an oil refinery in Barmer in 2004, but the then UPA government ignored it.
“The original idea of the refinery was of Vasundhara Raje. The project could have been completed a year back if the UPA government had accepted her proposal,” said Mahendra Singh Rathore, BJP in-charge of Barmer district.
PM Narendra Modi is expected to lay the foundation stone for the refinery proposed in Pachpadra, 120km from Barmer, on January 16.
Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot had earlier urged Modi to re-think his visit for foundation stone laying as this had been laid by former Congress president Sonia Gandhi in 2013. He alleged that Raje had delayed the project and caused a cost overrun of Rs 6000 crore. The former Congress government had signed an MoU with HPCL for setting up the refinery.
Countering the allegations, BJP leaders said the Congress project was only on paper. Rathore said “The refinery project was delayed because of the Congress’s irresponsible attitude. Before announcing the project and laying the foundation stone, the Congress government did not ensure the necessary groundwork.”
BJP leaders asked how a project could be implemented without environment clearance and land allotment. “The Congress had laid the foundation stone only eight days before the election code was enforced. They just want to woo voters,” Rathore told reporters.
He said the BJP government did not believe in making false promises. “We first addressed the necessary requirements of the project, and now we are going to lay the foundation stone.”
Rathore, also the chairman of the urban improvement trust (UIT) at Jodhpur, remained silent when asked why the BJP government was not making the revised refinery MoU public.
Raje has often said the agreement signed earlier with HPCL by the Congress was an unprofitable proposition. She said her government renegotiated the terms of agreement, saving the state Rs 40,000 crore.
Rathore said oil exploration in the region got a boost under the BJP rule. “The union petroleum ministry has extended the oil exploration licence, which is going to end by 2020.”
He claimed that more than five lakh people would attend the refinery function. Considering the large-scale preparations, observers believed the BJP would make the refinery event a mega show ahead of elections.
Rathore ruled out any effect of independent MLA Hanuman Beniwal’s appeal to his followers to boycott the PM’s programme. Beniwal had addressed a big gathering in Barmer on Sunday.
“In democracy everyone has a right to speak. People now know who are working for their welfare,” Rathore said.
UIT chairperson Priyanka Choudhary and BJP district president Jalam Singh Rawlot also addressed reporters.