Thursday, October 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Bathinda refinery: nod to HPCL
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Oct 4 — The Punjab refinery at Bathinda will eventually see the light of the day with the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today permitting Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to execute the project on its own without a joint venture.

The proposed nine-million-tonne refinery, for which the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, laid the foundation stone a couple of years back, had got stuck for want of a joint venture partner, which was a mandatory requirement put forward by the government. The HPCL was having talks with several international oil majors like Exxon and Totalfina of France but the arrangement did not work out.

Today the CCEA, on a recommendation from the ICICI, permitted the HPCL to execute the project on its own, with its own resources. However, they can still scout around for a joint partner.

The refinery will be completed in 48 months and will cost around Rs 9806 crore. The foreign exchange component of the project is Rs 3219 crore. The project will come up on 2000 acres of land at Phulokari in Bathinda. A pipeline of 1006 km of length for bringing crude oil to the project site will also be laid.

The decision was among a number of measures approved by the CCEA, the Cabinet spokesman and Union Minister, Mr Pramod Mahajan, said.

Another decision that is likely to benefit the northern region is that of converting the metre gauge railway line between Gandhidam and Palampur in Gujarat to a broadgauge. This will make transportation from the Kandla Port to the northern region more easy. Presently the Delhi-Ahmedabad section has been converted into broad gauge.

The CCEA as also sanctioned an integrated diary development project ‘for operation’ flood for hilly and backward areas, which will be executed in the Ninth Plan. It will involve an outlay of Rs 120.76 crore. Around 265 districts of the 500 districts will be covered by the project.

Another national project for cattle and buffalo breeding has also been approved. The focus will be on improving the milk yield from them.

An integrated national watershed development project to be executed in the Ninth Plan at a cost of Rs 1030 crore, integration of 27 Centrally-sponsored agriculture schemes into one scheme called Macro Management of Agriculture, Supplementation/Complementation scheme, and extension of fiscal benefits to nuclear projects on the line of those given to mega power projects were among the projects cleared by the CCEA.

It also gave clearance to Grasim Industry Ltd for setting up a 1800-MW power plant together with a terminal for LNG at Ennore in Tamil Nadu and approved the proposals of Satyam Computer Services to issue American Depository Shares (ADS) aggregating $310 million and another proposal to issue ADS-linked stock option of $ 25 million.

The CCEA also approved the setting up of a 21-MW gas-based power project at Tripura at a cost of Rs 96.75 crore and decided that 100 per cent of foodgrains and sugar and 20 per cent of urea should be packed in jute bags under the Jute Packaging Materials Compulsory Use in Packaging Commodities Act, 1987.

The CCEA today fixed the Statutory Minimum Price for sugarcane payable by sugar factories for 2001-2002 sugar season.

It has been fixed at Rs 59.50 per quintal for a basic recovery of 8.5 as against Rs 56.10 per quintal earlier. The premium for every additional point in basic recovery has been increased to 70 paise from the existing 66 paise.

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