Chennai, Feb 17 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that India is working to meet growing energy demand, while reducing its energy import dependence and also diversifying import sources.
In his address after launching oil and gas projects in Tamil Nadu through video conferencing, he said the country was trying to ensure this through capacity building.
In 2019-20, India was fourth in world in refining capacity. About 65.2 million tonnes of petroleum products have been exported and this number is expected to rise even further, he said.
The Prime Minister noted a diverse and talented nation like India was more dependent on imports for its energy requirements. During 2019-20, India imported over 85 per cent of oil and 53 per cent of gas to meet its domestic demand.
“I don’t want to criticise anyone, but I want to say had we focused on this sector much earlier, our middle class would not have been burdened. Now it is our collectively duty to work towards clean and green source of energy and reduce energy dependence,” he said
Stating that his government is sensitive to the concerns of the middle class, Modi said the country is increasing the focus on ethanol to help farmers and consumers, taking steps to become leader in solar power, encouraging public transport to make people’s lives productive and embracing alternative source like LED bulbs to enable huge savings for middle class households.
He noted that more Indian cities have metro coverage and solar pumps getting more popular helping farmers greatly.
“Our companies have ventured overseas in acquisition of quality oil and gas assets. Today Indian oil and gas companies are present in 27 countries with investment worth about Rs 2.70 lakh crore. We are developing a gas pipeline network to achieve one nation, one grid. We have plan to spend 7.5 lakh crore in creating oil and gas infrastructure over next five years. A strong emphasis had been laid on expansion on expansion of city gas distribution network by covering 470 districts.”
The Prime Minister said consumer focus scheme like Pahal and PM Ujwala Yojna were helping every Indian household access gas, and that 95 per cent of Tamil Nadu’s LPG consumers have joined Pahal scheme. Over 90 per cent of active customers get direct subsidy transfer under Ujwala Yojna.
Modi said 32 lakh BPL households in Tamil Nadu have been given new connections. Over 31.6 lakh households benefited from free refills under PM Garib Kalyan Yojna, he said.
He inaugurated the Ramanathapuram-Tuticorin Natural Gas Pipeline and Gasoline Desulphurisation Unit at the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd. He also laid the foundation stone of the Cauvery Basin Refinery at Nagapattinam.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister E.K. Palanisamy, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan attended the ceremony.