Business Bureau :
The Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) has been assiduously pursuing for establishing of a refinery-cum-petro-chemical complex in Vidarbha for almost a decade, for which it had requested Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas to arrange for the public sector units (PSUs) to conduct a techno-economic feasibility study that is necessary for such a large project to be set up in Vidarbha. On meeting the norms suggested by the study, it would be a major growth-engine for this region. Members of VED led by Vilas Kale, Past President, Shivkumar Rao, President, Devendra Parekh, Pradeep Maheshwar and Navin Malewar met Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister, Road Transport and Highways.
After a presentation by the VED Council, he was convinced for the need of refinery-cum-petro-chemical complex in Vidarbha and need for a techno-economic feasibility study. On this, Gadkari communicated to Pradhan to initiate this study which, if found feasible, would be a boon for Vidarbha. Gadkari felt that the information disseminated through the presentation by VED showed that the fuel consumption in Central India, which is about 14-15 MTPA, can be met by setting up the project in Vidarbha and that the 30 cement plants in the region and textile industries in the surrounding areas would greatly benefit from the availability of petroleum products like Pet Coke, PTA and MEG. In his communication, Gadkari further pointed out to Pradhan that the major reason for the sluggish industrial development of Vidarbha region was due to high cost of transportation of fuel and petroleum products from distant refineries, which would be obviated by a refinery here.
Gadkari was of the opinion that Nagpur-Vidarbha being centrally located, a crude petroleum pipeline could be laid across the Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg up to Nagpur, which would enable the transportation of petroleum at lower costs. The process, he felt, would trigger development and the possibility of downstream MSME units due to the availability of petroleum products here itself. When set up, the refinery would help setting up of downstream industries, especially plastic, chemicals, detergents, lubricants etc., by reducing cost of fuels which are the highest in Vidarbha. This notion is supported further by the fact that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recently announced that the refining capacity of the country needs to be doubled by 2025.
Hence, this project in Vidarbha would fulfill the current vacuum and the fuel consumption of 15 MPTPA in Central India would get catered to at a lower cost. The direct and indirect employment generation potential would be 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh, which would be a huge boost to the economy of the region and accelerate its per capita income growth. There would also be a higher demand for bio-fuel due to a targeted blending of 20 per cent. There could be a possible lower ATF cost for airlines at MIHAN. It would also aid the development of the north-south and east-west corridors, informs Shivkumar Rao in a press release.