Friday, January 31, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Bathinda Refinery to be speeded up
PM stands by commitment on Rs 10,000-cr project
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 30
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee here today gave a categorical assurance to Shiromani Akali Dal chief and former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal that there was no going back on the Guru Gobind Singh Refinery Ltd (GGSRL) project in Bathinda.

Mr Vajpayee told Mr Badal that his commitment about the GGSRL project stood and it would be taken up and completed irrespective of the disinvestment of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL).

The Prime Minister, allaying any misgivings about the Rs 10,000-crore Bathinda grassroots refinery project, said if the strategic partner of the HPCL backed out in respect of the GGSRL, either the Oil and Natural Gas Commission or the Oil India Corporation would be asked to step in.

Concerned that the GGSRL might be left in a limbo after the Centre’s decision to privatise the HPCL by reducing its equity participation to just 12 per cent, Mr Badal rushed here late last night and met Mr Vajpayee today in the forenoon for nearly 30 minutes.

Mr Badal said the Prime Minister had desired that his commitment of making the GGSRL a reality would be fulfilled at an early date. Mr Vajpayee explained that the Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment had discussed the GGSRL in detail and decided that in case the HPCL’s strategic partner backed out of this project, either the ONGC or the OIC would be asked to execute it.

Fondly recalling his visit to Bathinda three years ago to lay the foundation stone of the refinery project, Mr Vajpayee made it clear to Mr Badal that irrespective of the initial reservations expressed by the ONGC or the OIC to take up the GGSRL project, it would be executed by one of them in case the HPCL’s strategic partner backed out. Further, the Prime Minister emphasised that resources were not a constraint either with the ONGC or the OIC and that the GGSRL project would be speeded up.

Acknowledging that the GGSRL would be the biggest public sector investment in Punjab, Mr Vajpayee directed that the ministry concerned and Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Ram Naik should make an official announcement to put the record straight.

Mr Badal said any shadow cast on the GGSRL following the decision to privatise the HPCL had been removed at the highest level and the Prime Minister had urged him to reaffirm the Centre’s position on the matter.

The SAD chief also met Disinvestment, IT and Communication Minister Arun Shourie, who affirmed that there was not an iota of doubt about the GGSRL project being taken up and completed. Regretting the controversy about the GGRSL in the wake of the NDA government’s decision to privatise the HPCL and the BPCL, he reiterated the CCD’s decision with specific reference to the GGSRL project.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |