Pradhan reaps IOC Paradip refinery dividend

Vol 19, PW 10 (28 Jan 16) Midstream & Downstream

IndianOil will be hit with a Rs20cr ($2.95m) bill for the inauguration ceremony of its Paradip refinery in Orissa, which will be attended by Narendra Modi, and present a huge opportunity for the BJP to promote itself at the taxpayer’s expense.

Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, from Orissa himself, has given IOC a list of 1000 VIP guests he has invited to the ceremony. Pradhan has also asked IOC to arrange for 500,000 members of the public to attend.

“We must provide one car to each VIP guest and luxury buses for around 500,000 people,” confirms an IOC official. “Pradhan wants to show his popularity and strength to Modi.

” Pradhan has also sent out 30 four-wheelers fitted with LCD screens from IOC’s Chandrasekharpur office to travel across the state inviting the public to attend the inauguration. “These vehicles are displaying ‘success story’ messages for the Modi government,” adds another IOC source.

“The vehicles will reach out to people, even in villages, and publicise the centre's welfare programmes. And our company will pay the bill!” Among the programmes the publicity vehicles will promote are a Rs1-a-kg rice scheme under the National Food Security Act and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana which extends access to banking.

A retired IOC director adds that the Rs34,555 cr ($5.1bn) refinery is a national project but Pradhan is making this a political event. “This is blatant misuse of company resources,” he says.