Bhubaneswar: After major political parties – BJP, BJD and Congress scurried to claim stake for IOCL’s Rs 35,000 crore refinery project at Paradip, former Union minister Bhajman Behera on Saturday drew media attention following his claims that the project was cleared by the Union Cabinet during VP Singh-led Janata Party government at the Centre.
Talking to OTV, Behera, who was then the Union minister of state for Petroleum and Natural Gas, said he had suggested Paradip as the location for the project.
“In 1990, when the ministry discussed about a viable site for the project in the Eastern Zone, I had suggested Paradip. Since a port had already started functioning there, I thought it will be viable from economic front as well,” Behera said.
“To my pleasure the Economic Affairs Committee also agreed on the proposal and cleared it,” he stated.
Behera further noted that he had taken up the matter with the legendary Biju Patnaik.
“Then I approached late Biju Patnaik that since your contribution towards the setting up of Paradip port was remarkable, such a project will boost the economy of the State as the greenfield project will bring downstream ancillary units. Then Patnaik spoke to the then Prime Minster Viswanath Pratap Singh over the matter to get it sanctioned,” he said.
Now, that less than twenty four hours to go when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the project to the nation, all eyes are on his announcement as whom he will give credit for the mega project.