Paradip: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicating 35,000 crores refinery at Paradip on Sunday, a slugfest has begun with all three major political parties in Odisha seeking credit for the project.
As BJP continued with its publicity campaign across the state to take credit for the project and Congress leaders claimed the party’s government in 1992 first decided to set up the refinery, BJD headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today hurriedly convened a press conference and produced documents saying it was the legendary Biju Patnaik who had initiated the project in the early 90s as the chief minister of Odisha.
“The oil refinery project was the dream of Biju Patnaik. He was the person who had contacted oil majors from Kuwait, Russia and Hinduja Group to set up refinery in the early 90s when Indian Oil Corporation Ltd was not fully prepared to take up the project,” BJD spokesman Sashi Bhusan Behera told reporters while distributing Biju Patnaik’s letters on the matter.
Biju Patnaik had written letters to then oil minister B Shankarananda in 1992, Capt Satish Sharma in 1994, AN Verma, principal secretary to PM in 1992 and Prime Minister VP Singh on the refinery project, Mr Behera said. Another BJD spokesman Pratap Keshari Deb also claimed that Naveen Patnaik carried forward the campaign for the refinery and announced several incentives for the project, which resulted in the setting up of the project today. Besides exempting VAT, entry tax and other relaxations, the Odisha government has provided land, water and logistics for the project, claimed BJD’s Samir Dash, adding that the state would lose about Rs. 67,000 crore over 11 years for exempting VAT.