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Gehlot slams Raje govt over Barmer oil refinery

Jodhpur: Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot today launched an attack on the Raje government saying it is not interested in setting up the proposed oil refinery in Barmer, and accused it of “misleading” the people with “hollow arguments and contorted facts” on the feasibility of the project.

Gehlot was in Jodhpur to kick off a divisional-level movement to press upon the government for expediting the work on the refinery. He held a meeting of party leaders of the region to prepare a blue print for the movement.

Talking to reporters, Gehlot alleged that Vasundhara Raje was never interested in bringing the refinery to the state.

“Had she been serious, she would not have avoided responding to overtures from ONGC during her earlier regime in 2003-08 at first place. And even now, she would not have wasted a period of about one-and-a-half years in deciding to appoint a consultant (for the project),” he said.

“Holding up this project in the name of review has already dealt a severe revenue loss to the state in terms of VAT and royalty,” Gehlot claimed, adding that today Gujarat is mopping up an annual VAT of Rs 1,500 crore on Rajasthan’s crude due to this delay.

He alleged that this delay was only meant for fulfilling the interests of private players at the cost of the interest of the state. “Raje has been serving the interests of Gujarat and some private companies, who do not want the refinery to be set up in Rajasthan,” he said.

Taking a dig at the Resurgent Rajasthan Summit, Gehlot said during such an extravagant fanfare there was not even a mention of the state’s “biggest and dream” project.

“This is not how the industrialists could be invited as they know that there was the difference in the intentions and promises of the government,” Gehlot said.

He said that this is the same government, which had earlier blamed the UPA government at the Centre that it did not want to set up the refinery in Rajasthan.

The party said they would hold meetings in all the districts of Jodhpur division starting from Pali on Friday and would consistently keep up building pressure on the government.