Thursday, July 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Refinery work picks up as funds arrive
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 10
Guru Gobind Singh Oil Refinery will be completed in two-and-a-half years as Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), which has been executing the project, has started pumping in adequate funds for the project. The completion of this project will be followed by a petrochemical project.

Stating this here at a press conference, Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman, High-Powered Committee on Finance, said the state government would give a deed of assurance in connection with the deferment of sales tax for 15 years to the HPCL as decided at a meeting between Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and HPCL Chairman M.B. Lall in Delhi on July 5. The deed of assurance will be approved by the state Cabinet shortly. The deed of assurance will be given to ensure that no future regime changes the terms and conditions laid down between the present Punjab Government and the HPCL.

The HPCL has also decided to spend Rs 700 crore on construction in this financial year. In the next four months, the HPCL will place its orders before the international suppliers in connection with the purchase of machinery and other equipment. The total cost of the project might range between Rs 1,300 crore and Rs 16,000 crore.

He disclosed that during the Delhi meeting almost all the demands of the HPCL had been accepted. Income from sales tax per annum, which will be deferred for 15 years, will be around Rs 700 crore while the income from Excise duty, which the Punjab government will get every year, will be around Rs 1,000 crore. The demands of the HPCL will not put any financial burden on the Punjab government.

Apart from it, the oil refinery, the biggest gift to Punjab by the previous Congress governments at the Centre and the state, will generate direct employment for more than 1,000 persons and indirect employment for many more thousands. During the construction of the refinery, about 4,000 hands will be engaged for different vocations temporarily.

After the completion of oil refinery, the Punjab government and the HPCL will set up a petrochemical project in association with a foreign collaborator. He added that so far there was no indication of disinvestments in the oil companies and so there would be no problem for HPCL to execute this project at the earliest. Work on the refinery had already been speeded up.

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