The Vidarbha Economic Development Council (VED) has been assiduously pursuing the establishment of a refinery-cum-petro-chemical complex in Vidarbha for almost a decade, for which it has requested Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India, to arrange for the PSUs to conduct a techno-economic feasibility study that is necessary for such a large project. Set up in Vidarbha on meeting the norms suggested by the study, it would be a major growth engine for this region.
In a recent move, Nitin Gadkari, Minister Road Transport & Highways, Government of India, after a presentation by the VED Council, convinced of the need of the refinery-cum-petro-chemical complex in Vidarbha, and the need for a techno-economic feasibility study prior to its setting up, has 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 cement (30 plants in the area) and textile industries in the surrounding areas would greatly benefit from the availability of petroleum products like Pet Coke, PTA and MEG.
Gadkari further pointed out to the Union Minister in his communication that the major reason for the sluggish industrial development of this region was the high cost of the logistics of transportation of fuel and petroleum products from distant refineries, which would be obviated by a refinery here.
He opined that Nagpur-Vidarbha being centrally located, a crude petroleum pipeline can 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, it would help the setting up of downstream industries, especially such as plastic, chemicals, detergents, lubricants etc. by reducing the cost of fuels which are the highest in Vidarbha.
This notion is supported further by the fact that 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 to 1.5 lakhs, 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%. 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.