Barmer Oil Refinery – a blessing mishandled

In 2009, Rajasthan was blessed with the discovery of a huge oil basin in a Congress government-neglected Barmer region of the state. Nearing Rajasthan Assembly elections 2013, the ruling government rose to this opportunity and started publicizing the ambitious Barmer refinery cum petrochemical complex as the largest investment in the history of Rajasthan, and as a feat of the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government.

But the Congress government, forced out of habit, started probing its own interests in the project. The refinery at Barmer, after several analyses and trials, was supposed to come up at Leelala. The announcement of the Barmer refinery at Leelala increased the land values around the area by huge margins. It is alleged that several ministers and their kin bought and sold their lands in Leelala before the refinery location was shifted to Pachpadra, thus making huge proceeds.

Rajasthan Refinery – ill fated under Government’s influence

Several speculations are involved in the shift of the Barmer refinery in Rajasthan from Leelala to Pachpadra, which is closer to the Chief minister of Rajasthan’s home district. Wide suspicions have been raised due to the Barmer refinery news pertaining that Pachpadra is also home to a salt water lake and exquisite flora and fauna that will be hampered due to the placing of the barmer refinery. Assumptions of the Government looking at its own interests also upraised due to the fact that the state government and HPCL entered into an agreement where HPCL will have 74% of equity share in the company while Rajasthan will have 26% of stake. The people of Rajasthan are wondering, when the oil reserve belongs to them, the investment will be done by their own government, then why is HPCL holding a major share. People are also agitated on the non-participation of the Central government in terms of investment on the refinery in Barmer.

One of the theories around shifting of the Barmer refinery is that the Chief Minister wants to profit his home district Jodhpur, from where he also contests. The district in the recent past has benevolently received slew of institutes and infra projects that has made other parts of state envy of Jodhpur. The district in the recent past has generously received swing of institutions and projects that has made other parts of state envious of Jodhpur.

Conclusively, it is believed that the whole agreement on the Barmer refinery is politically motivated. Suffering from internal unrest and oppositions, CM Gehlot seems to have a lot of trouble in capitalizing on the Barmer Oil Refinery in Rajasthan, which was seemingly his masterstroke for Rajasthan Assembly Elections 2013.