Modi misleading people on Paradip project: Congress

New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) The Congress on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of misleading the nation and making “hollow and lame allegations” regarding the delay in the commencement of the Paradip oil refinery project in Odisha.

Modi resorted to myopic politicking while inaugurating the Paradip project on Sunday, said Congress leader and former union minister Srikant Jena in a statement here.

“Had the prime minister been honest and sincere, he would have appreciated the Congress-led UPA government in the development of Paradip and Odisha instead of making hollow and lame allegations about the project having been delayed. We call upon him to introspect and do necessary course correction,” Jena added.

“Narendra Modi’s rhetoric is founded on blame game and criticising the previous governments instead of providing leadership to the nation. The net consequence is that repeated public utterances of the prime minister are based on deliberate ignorance and selective amnesia towards facts,” the Congress leader said.

He said the project was conceptualised in 1992 by the then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao with a capacity of six million tonnes, later increased to nine million tonnes by the United Front government headed by H.D. Deve Gowda.

He said the foundation stone was laid by the then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2000.

The Congress leader said the project was called off due to “delay and non-cooperation by the Biju Janata Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government in Odisha which refused to provide sales tax concession”.

Jena said the United Progressive Alliance government led by Manmohan Singh revisited the project and “persuaded the then BJD government in Odisha to sign a memorandum of understanding”.

He said the then UPA government and the Indian Oil Corporation Limited announced a fresh project with a capacity of 15 million tonnes refining capacity along with other downstream projects.

Jena said the then UPA government approved expenditure of Rs.35,000 crore in 2009 and its completion in 2012-13.

“What is remarkable is that despite being a green field project in remote area, 95 percent of the work was completed by 2014 during UPA government’s term,” the Congress leader said in the release.

Modi had on Sunday dedicated to the nation a 15-million tonnes per annum refinery and expressed regrets over the delay in execution of different projects.

He took a dig at the Congress and said “nowadays whenever I go to inaugurate any project, the friends in Congress party say it was started during our time”.

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