Amarinder hardens stand against refinery concessions

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Old 14-Dec-2010
Amarinder hardens stand against refinery concessions

Chandigarh December 14:

Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president and former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday reiterated his party’s stand that the Congress was not against setting up of the refinery in Bathinda, but was certainly against undue concessions being planned by the Government which simply amounts to the loot of the State exchequer.

Captain Amarinder said the Congress would not allow any such concessions and even if these are granted by the Akali-BJP Government, these would be undone by the next Congress Government after ensuing elections. In an informal interaction with the reporters at the PCC office here, Captain Amarinder pointed out the concessions were too massive and these were not commensurate to what the State was getting in return.

He said that the refinery would at best generate 800 direct jobs and certainly not 30,000 as being claimed by the Government. He further said providing of VAT exemption for 15 years, amounting to `20,000 crore, to the refinery is absolutely unjustified and unacceptable. He said that as this deal was being struck at the fag end of the Akali-BJP Government and at a time when the refinery is nearing completion, it smacks of the biggest ever scam perpetrated in the history of Punjab.

Referring to the role of the Akali-BJP Government between 1997 and 2002, Captain Amarinder said, “It did nothing more than signing a MoU to implement the project. There too contrary to the agreement with the HPCL that the Government of Punjab will not make any financial investment in the project and will also not offer any tax cuts, this Government agreed to waiver of sales tax on refinery’s products for a period of 15 years.”

“The previous Congress Government led by him between 2002 and 2007 not only renegotiated the project to annual Rs 250 crore for a period of five years totalling to `1250 crore only, but also completed the last mile infrastructure linkages,” he said, adding that the SAD-BJP Government was learnt to have struck a deal to allow VAT waiver to the refinery products for a period of 15 years, which would amount to a total loss of `20,000 crore to the State.

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