I am Happy to be here at Kochi the Queen of the Arabian Sea. The blue sea, the back-waters, the Great Periyar River the greenery all around and its dynamic people make Kochi indeed a Queen among the cities.
It was from here, that the great Indian Sage Adi Shankar embarked on his epic journeys across India to protect the Indian civilization and unify the country.
Today is a historic day when the largest industrial unit of Kerala is entering its next phase of development. It is indeed a proud moment not just for God’s Own Country but also for the entire Nation.
Bharat Petroleum’s Kochi Refinery has played a critical role in popularizing the clean fuel, LPG among masses in Kerala and neighbouring States for more than 50 years.
I recall, my childhood and youth, when I had seen many mothers struggling with the fire-wood stove in the kitchen. Ever since, I had always thought of improving their situation and providing healthy kitchens to the mothers and sisters of India.
The Ujjwala scheme of the Government of India is a way to realize this dream. I am happy that since May 2016, nearly six crore LPG connections have been provided to the poorest of the poor in our country under Ujjawala yojana .
More than twenty three crore LPG consumers have joined the Pahal Scheme.
Pahal has helped in identifying ghost accounts, multiple accounts and inactive accounts. Pahal has entered into the Guinness book of World records, as the largest Direct Benefit Transfer scheme in the world. Over one crore customers have given up LPG subsidy under ‘Give it up’ initiative.
By doubling the LPG production with the help of the recent expansion, Kochi Refinery is making a great contribution towards Ujjwala.To over-come environment pollution, the Government of India is promoting the use of environment friendly transport fuel, that is CNG by expanding the coverage of City Gas Distribution network in the country.
After the successful completion of tenth CGD Bidding Round more than four hundred districts of the country will be connected for providing piped gas supply.
The National Gas Grid or Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga has also been created to have a gas based economy and enhance the share of gas in the energy basket.
The Government has thought of developing additional fifteen thousand Kilo-Miters of gas pipeline network.To cut down on import of Crude oil, government has taken decisive steps towards reducing imports by ten percent and saving precious foreign exchange.To this end, the 2nd Generation ethanol through lignocellulose Route has been adopted by Oil PSUs for establishing twelve 2G ethanol plants in 11 States.
Six MoUs have already been signed in this direction. The Indian refinery industry has done well in establishing itself as a major player globally. India, which is second largest oil refiner in Asia, is emerging as a refinery hub with refining more than its demand.The country’s refinery capacity is currently more than two fourty seven MMTPA. I take this opportunity to congratulate all for the timely completion of IREP. Last but not the least I recognize the work of all those labourers who worked day and night during construction. I am told that at the peak of the project, over twenty thousand labourers were working at the site.
In many ways, they are the ‘Real Heroes’ of the Project. The Integrated Refinery Expansion Project was also a strategic move of Bharat Petroleum to diversify into non-fuel sector.
Petro-chemicals are a grade of chemicals which we don’t speak much about, but they exist invisibly and touch many aspects of our daily life. This includes building materials, plastics and paints, foot-wear, clothing and other fabrics orauto-motive parts, cosmetics and medicines. However, most of these chemicals are imported from other countries.It is our endeavor to see that these petro-chemicals are manufactured in India itself. I am happy that using the capability of Kochi Refinery to produce propylene after the execution of IREP, BPCL has gone ahead with putting up three world scale plants to manufacture acrylic acid acrylates and oxo alcohol under Make In India.
These निश petro-chemicals will find use in paints, inks, coating, detergent, and in many other articles. Now, BPCL is starting the construction of a Petro-chemical Complex where it would produce polyols that find end use in foams, fibres, foot-wear, cosmetics, and medicines. I am sure by all these, many ancillary industries would come to Kochi.I hope the Petro-chemical Park planned by State Government would become operational soon and leverage the business opportunities provided by the Petro-chemical venture of BPCL. I am happy to note that BPCL along with other PSUs has set up a Skill Development Institute for skilling and developing employable youth. I am delighted to lay the foundation stone of the second campus of the institute at Ettumanoor near the holy Mahadeva Temple.
I am also glad to note that Indian Oil Corporation has put out the Mounded Storage Facility at its Cochin Bottling Plant, around 12 kilo-metres from here at a cost of Rupees fifty crores.This will enhance LPG storage capacity and also reduce road movement of LPG tankers.It is heartening to note that last August, when Kerala was passing through the worst floods in a hundred years, BPCL Kochi Refinery was kept running against all odds. I understand that many employees stayed in the refinery to ensure continuous production of petrol, diesel and LPG.
This helped the rescue vehicles and heli-copters to continue relief and rescue operation smoothly.I urge BPCL Kochi Refinery to keep up this spirit of hard work, social commitment and innovation as it moves towards its next phase of development. We are proud of Kochi Refinery’s contributions towards Nation Building.But now we have greater expectations. I wish that Kochi Refinery leads a Petro-chemical Revolution in Southern India and support the growing needs of a New India!