Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 5:
Political slugfest over Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL)’s Paradip refinery got murkier today with BJP, BJD and Congress fighting it out among themselves to take credit for the Rs 35,000 crore mega-project.
With only one more day to go before the dedication of the plant, Odisha’s ruling BJD today held a press conference in Bhubaneswar and recounted the contribution of the State Government for the project.
As per information provided by Party Spokesperson Sashi Bhusan Behera in the presser, the State Government has provided 3343 acres of land and spent Rs 1.62 lakh rupees for rehabilitation of 143 displaced families. It also has waived off Rs 475 crore in entry tax and VAT.
Besides, it would also waive off taxes for 11 years starting 2016-7– which works up to Rs 76,000 crore. Further, the government is also going to incur a loss of Rs 24,000 crore for devaluation of rupee.
“The BJD tried its level best to get the project here. Biju Patnaik and Naveen Patnaik held innumerable meetings and pressurized the center for us to see this day. We are giving the project our land, our water and helped it with tax waivers,” said Behera.
The BJP, on the other hand, argued that the foundation stone of the project was laid by BJP Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and will be dedicated by BJP Prime Minister Narendra Modi – which speaks volumes about their contribution.
It also recounted that Rs 35,000 crore has already been invested in the project and Rs 1,00,000 crore more would follow for various ancillary industries etc. Overall, the project would generate about 50,000 jobs.
Former PCC President Niranjan Patnaik rebuffed the arguments of both parties and said that it was a gift of Congress for the people of the state.
“This is a project dreamed by the Congress government. We had allotted the land for the project. Most of the construction was also carried out during UPA tenure. BJD and BJP do not have any contribution whatsoever. They are trying to pat their own backs for no good,” said former Minister Patnaik.