Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday laid the foundation stone of an Indian Oil terminal here that will ensure continuous fuel supply to armed forces installations in forward areas round the year.Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was also present at the event that turned out to be a show of strength between the state's ruling Congress and the BJP. Both party activists raised slogans and counter-slogans."The terminal will not only improve fuel supply in Himachal Pradesh but will also generate opportunities for indirect employment by way of handling, loading and unloading personnel and transport crew," Pradhan said.At present, the fuel requirements of the state are met from Indian Oil terminals in Ambala in Haryana and Jalandhar in Punjab through road fed depots at Kullu and Parwanoo.
Pradhan, who also distributed security-free LPG connections among BPL women under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, said that an underground pipeline would be laid from Jalandhar to Una. Two bottling plants of around 90,000 tonnes capacity would be established in the state for the liquefied petroleum gas refill.Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said the state has provided 61 acres for setting up the terminal on a lease of Re 1 in 2014.He said it was after a long struggle that the state was able to persuade the Centre to open an Indian Oil terminal in Una, which would also be important from the strategic point of view.The terminal, being set up at an investment of Rs 507 crore, will handle over 87,000 kilolitres of petrol, diesel, and kerosene.The terminal is expected to be commissioned by December next year and will be a strategic storage point for the defence forces to meet annual winter fuel stocking needs in forward areas of Leh and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.