IOCL ref: BJD, BJP, Congress jostle for credit

Bhubaneswar: Three major political parties of Odisha – BJD, BJP and Congress – are jostling with each other to take credit for the IOCL refinery at Paradip.

While ruling BJD presented data regarding the State government’s contribution towards setting up of the IOCL refinery in a press meet, BJP, which is in power at the Centre, said the Central government had invested Rs 35,000 crore in the project and would spend another Rs 1 lakh crore in near future on it.

The State government said it provided 3,345 acres for the project. Besides, Rs 1 crore 62 lakh were spent towards rehabilitation and compensation to 143 displaced families. The State waived Rs 475 crore on head of entry tax and VAT.

The BJD also said the State would waive Rs 76,000 crore tax for 11 years beginning from 2016-17. Apart from this, the State government would bear revenue loss of Rs 24,000 crore due to rupee devaluation.

BJD spokesperson Shashibhusan Behera said, “After putting on pressure on the Central government repeatedly starting from the days of Biju Patnaik to Naveen Patnaik, the project took the shape.”

Explaining about the State government’s role, Behera said, “We have provided land and water as well as cooperation from tax point of view.”

Claiming that 50,000 youths will be employed due to the IOCL refinery project, BJP State President Basant Panda said, “The credit goes to everyone. No one can forget legendary Biju Babu or Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Narendra Modi. Similarly, Naveen Patnaik has played a role in the establishment of the project.”

Meanwhile, criticising BJD and BJP for trying to take credit for the refinery, former PCC chief Niranjan Patnaik said, “We had allotted the land for the project and the process begun during the Congress regime. For establishment of the IOCL refinery neither BJD nor BJP has a role to play. They are unnecessarily competing to take the credit.”

Begging to differ from the BJD spokesperson, minister Damodar Rout said, “During the regime of Narasingha Rao and later Manmohan Singh, the work of the Paradip refinery was done expeditiously. However, during NDA rule under the prime ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee nothing had happened in 13 months. It is only Biju Babu who had given the proposal without which the work would not have been started here. Therefore, the credit goes to the people of Odisha.”