RS MPs raise issue of closure of private oil

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New Delhi, Apr 29 (UNI) The closure of the retail side of a private oil company that had left its staff in the lurch drew a heated response in the Upper House today after some members sought to raise the issue during the Question Hour.

Raising the matter, Mr Digvijay Singh of the JD(U) demanded to know what action the Government proposed to take to deal with the fallout of closure of the retail side of the company, pushing its employees to the verge of starvation.

House Chairman Hamid Ansari objected to this, saying that the query was not relevant to the question being asked. However, several members from the Opposition benches were on their feet, demanding an answer as thousands of youths had been affected by the move.

As some members persisted, Mr Ansari said there was an established procedure and members should patiently await their turn to ask supplementaries.

To this, Mr Sharad Yadav, JD(U), said since the matter was serious it deserved a reply. He was joined in his pleas to the Chair by Mr Murli Manohar Joshi (BJP).

Replying to the issue, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dinsha J Patel said in 1998 a decision was taken allowing private companies to set up oil refineries. The viability of these companies was a private matter.

He said separate notice should be given for the question to which he would then reply.

In another reply, Mr Patel told the House that 28.14 million tonnes of crude oil was achieved by the country. His ministry was taking the initiative to undertake exploration in countries such as Kazakhistan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan among others. UNI SD RR BD1310

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