Kochi, Jan 27 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday said the NDA government has taken “decisive steps” to bring down crude oil import by 10 percent and save precious foreign exchange for the country.

Towards this end, Modi said, 11 oil PSUs have adopted the modern ‘lignocellulosic’ route for establishing twelve 2G ethnol plants in 11 states of the country.

“To cut down on import of Crude oil, government has taken decisive steps towards reducing imports by 10 per cent and saving precious foreign exchange,” Modi said after dedicating to the nation an integrated refinery expansion complex of the public sector Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd at the Kochi Refinery here.

Six MoUs have already been signed in this direction, he said.

To overcome environment pollution, he said the Centre was promoting the use of environment-friendly transport fuel–CNG– by expanding the coverage of City Gas Distribution (CGD) network in the country.

After the successful completion of 10th CGD bidding Round, more than 400 districts of the country would be connected for providing piped gas supply, Modi said.

Referring to the National Gas Grid or Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project, he said it 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 15,000 kilometers of gas pipeline network,” he said.

Earlier, Modi laid the foundation stone for a petrochemical complex at the refinery and a skill development institute at Ettumanoor besides inaugurating a mounded storage vessel at the LPG bottling plant of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited here.

The Prime Minister, during his address after inaugurating the Kochi refinery expansion complex, dwelt at length on the petrochemical sector in the country.

“India, which is second largest oil refiner in Asia, is emerging as a refinery hub with refining more than its demand,” he said adding the country’s refinery capacity currently stood at more than 247 MMTPA.

He said the government had provided nearly six crore LPG connections to the poor people under the Ujjwala Yojana scheme since May, 2016 when it was launched.

He noted that over 23 crore LPG consumers had joined the PAHAL (the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG) scheme that has helped in identifying ghost, multiple and inactive accounts.

Modi said PAHAL had entered into the Guinness book of World record, being the largest direct benefit transfer scheme.

Recalling his childhood and youth when he had seen many mothers struggling with the fire-wood stove in the kitchen, Modi said ever since, he 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,” he said.

Modi said the Indian refinery industry has done well in establishing itself as a major player globally.

By doubling the LPG production with the help of recent expansion, Kochi Refinery is making a great contribution towards Ujjwala, he said.

The Prime Minister said the Integrated Refinery Expansion Project was also a strategic move of Bharat Petroleum to diversify into non-fuel sector.

Observing that petro-chemicals are a grade of chemicals which we dont speak much about, the Prime Minister said “they exist invisibly and touch many aspects of our daily life.” This includes building materials, plastics and paints,foot-wear,clothing and other fabrics or auto-motive parts, cosmetics and medicines, he said.

Noting that most of these chemicals are imported from other countries, the Prime Minister said, “it is our endeavour 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-class plants to manufacture acrylic acid acrylates and oxo alcohol under Make In India.

These petro-chemicals will find use in paints, inks, coating, detergent,and in many other articles,” he said.

Reaching out to the labourers who worked day and night during construction of the complex, he said, “I am told that at the peak of the project, over 20,000 labourers were working at the site. In many ways, they are the Real Heroes of the Project.”

The integrated refinery dedicated by Modi is a modern expansion complex and is expected to transform the Kochi Refinery as the largest PSU refinery in the country with world class standards.

It is equipped with the technology to produce cleaner fuel, besides, being able to double the production of LPG and diesel.

Petrochemical complex at the BPCL Kochi refinery is a ‘Make in India’ initiative aimed at reducing dependence on imports.

The skill development institute at Ettumanoor in Kottayam district, backed by the Ministry of Petrochemical and Natural Gas, would provide vocational training and enhance employability and entrepreneurship for deserving youth both in oil & gas and other industries.

This world class institute was being set up at an eight acre campus allocated by the state government and would have a capacity to skill around 1,000 youths annually in 20 different skills.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.