Cong hits out at Modi for remark on IOCL delay

Bhubaneswar: Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark holding the Congress responsible for delays in completion of projects, Odisha PCC on Sunday blamed the erstwhile NDA government for non-completion of IOCL’s Paradip refinery on time.

Mocking the prime minister’s statement that he would have been happy had the project been completed 15 years ago, Odisha PCC president Prasad Harichandan said Modi was “either misinformed” or “not informed” as 15 years back NDA was in power at the Centre.

“When in May, 2000 the then prime minster A B Vajpayee laid the foundation stone of the project, it was declared that the project was supposed to be completed by August 2003. But, the project remained idle till UPA government took charge in 2004,” Harichandan said in a statement.

Nothing had been done for the mega project till Congress led UPA-I came to power and started the construction work in 2006 augmenting the estimated capacity of the refinery project from the earlier 6 million tonne to 15 million tonne, he said.

The work on the refinery was almost completed by March, 2014 but due to model code of conduct for the general elections that year, the project could not be dedicated to the nation, Harichandan said,

He criticised Modi’s statement that the UPA government had often failed to complete projects within stipulated time and said it was the NDA which has “no history of successfully completing a project” across the country.

Hitting out at the prime minister for not announcing anything for the people affected by the Paradip refinery, Harichandan said “Nearly 1750 people have lost their land and 150 people have been evicted from their ancestral homes. But it was an irony that Modi didn’t utter a single word for those people.”

Modi today dedicated the Indian Oil Corporation’s largest greenfield refinery at Paradip to the nation.

The prime minister had also remained silent over Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s demand of special category status for Odisha, he said adding “Modi going mute on this issue speaks volumes about how much he loves Odisha.”

The Congress leader expressed concern over the status of the Biju Patnaik National Steel Institute set up near Puri during the Vajpayee government and said Modi could have taken stock of its situation, which he said was in bad shape now.