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New Delhi, September 13, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation three key petroleum projects in Bihar today via video conferencing.
The projects are the Durgapur-Banka section of the Paradip-Haldia-Durgapur Pipeline Augmentation Project and two LPG Bottling Plants.
These have been commissioned by Indian Oil and HPCL, public sector undertakings (PSUs) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said the special package announced for Bihar a few years ago, focused much on the state's infrastructure. It had 10 big projects related to petroleum and gas worth Rs 21,000 crore. This is the seventh project being inaugurated. He also listed the other six projects which had been completed in Bihar earlier.
Modi expressed happiness that he was inaugurating the Durgapur-Banka section (about 200 km) of an important gas pipeline project for which he laid the foundation stone about one and a half years ago. He lauded the hard work of the engineers and labourers and active support of the state government for completing this project on time, despite the challenging terrain.
He lauded Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for playing a big role in making Bihar come out of the work culture in which one generation used to start the work and the other generation completed it. This new work culture needs to be strengthened and it would set Bihar and the eastern Indian region on the development path.
The Prime Minister quoted from the scriptures “Samarthyam Moolam Swatatryam, Sramam Moolam Vaibhavam” meaning "strength is the source of freedom and power of labour is the basis of development" of any nation.
There was neither any shortage of power of labour in eastern India, including Bihar nor it lacked natural resources. However, Bihar and East India remained behind in terms of development for decades and suffered endless delays due to political, economic reasons and other priorities.
Road, rail, air and internet connectivity were not a priority earlier. Gas-based industry and petro-connectivity could not be imagined in Bihar. Development of gas-based industries was a major challenge in Bihar due to it being a landlocked state lacking resources related to petroleum and gas which are otherwise available to coastal states.
“Gas-based industry and petro-connectivity have a direct impact on people's lives, on their standard of living and also create millions of new employment opportunities. Today, when CNG & PNG are reaching many cities in Bihar and Eastern India, people here should get these facilities easily,” he said.
The effort to connect eastern India with Paradip on the eastern seaboard and Kandla on the western seaboard began under the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga Yojana. Seven states will be connected through this pipeline, which is about 3,000 km long, in which Bihar also figures prominently.
The Paradip-Haldia line will now be further extended to Patna, Muzaffarpur and the pipeline coming from Kandla which has reached Gorakhpur will also be connected to it. Once complete, it will be one of the longest pipeline projects in the world.
Along with the laying of the gas pipelines, big bottling plants were also being set up in the state. Two bottling plants were launched today in Banka and Champaran. Both these plants can fill more than 125 million cylinders every year.
The plants will meet the LPG requirements of Godda, Deoghar, Dumka, Sahibganj, Pakur districts and some areas of Uttar Pradesh in Jharkhand. Thousands of new jobs were being created with the laying of this gas pipeline as new industries would come up using the piped gas as a source of energy.
The fertilizer factory of Barauni, which was closed down, will resume work soon after the construction of this gas pipeline. Eight crore poor families of the country have gas connections because of the Ujjwala scheme. This has changed their lives during the pandemic lockdown when they could not go out to collect wood or other fuel, he said.
During this period, millions of cylinders were given free of cost to the beneficiaries of the Ujjwala scheme which has benefited millions of poor families. he said.
Modi lauded the efforts of the petroleum and gas departments and companies, as well as the millions of delivery partners, as they did not let people run out of gas despite the dangers of infection.
LPG gas connections in Bihar at one time used to be a sign of affluence. People had to get recommendations for each gas connection. But under the Ujjwala scheme, about 1.25 crore poor families of Bihar got free gas connections, he said.
Praising the youth of Bihar, Modi said Bihar was the powerhouse of the country's talent. The strength of Bihar and the imprint of Bihar's labour will be seen in the development of every state. In the last 15 years, Bihar has also shown that with the right government, right decisions and a clear policy, development happens and reaches everyone.
“There was thinking that education was not necessary as the youth of Bihar have to work in the fields. Due to this thinking, not much work was done to open large educational institutions in Bihar. The result was that the youth of Bihar were forced to go out to study, to work. Farming is very hard work, but do not give other opportunities to the youth, it was not right,” he said.
“Today, big centres of education are opening in Bihar. Now the number of agricultural colleges, medical colleges, engineering colleges is increasing. Now IIT, IIM and IIIT in the state are helping to make the dreams of the youth of Bihar soar,” Modi said.
He lauded the efforts of the Chief Minister in tripling the number of polytechnic institutions and opening of two large universities, one IIT, one IIM, one NIFT and one National Law Institute in Bihar.
The Prime Minister said Startup India, Mudra Yojana and many such schemes have provided the necessary self-employment avenues to the youth. The availability of electricity in cities and villages is more than ever.
“Modern infrastructure is being built in the power, petroleum and gas sectors, the reforms being brought in, are making the lives of people easier as well as giving impetus to industries and the economy.
“in this period of the pandemic, once again the petroleum-related infrastructure works like refinery projects, related to exploration or production, pipelines, City Gas Distribution projects, have gained momentum. There are more than 8,000 projects, in which 6 lakh crore rupees will be spent in the coming days,” he added.
Migrant labourers have returned and new employment opportunities have also been created. Even during such a huge global epidemic, the country has not stopped, especially Bihar has not stopped, the Prime Minister said.
The National Infrastructure Pipeline Project worth more than Rs 100 lakh crore was also going to help in increasing economic activity, he added.